As much as I dread it, we may look back on the events of this coming weekend as the beginning of the all-out war between religion and state in Israel. The clash is not inevitable by any stretch of the imagination, but the clash is real, and it’s predicated on a real clash of civilizations [We may start to see the name Huntington in the pages of the Yated as often as it’s heard on Al-Jazeera]. These rifts run very. Very deep.
That’s part of the reason that I think this pride march was such a stupid idea. Readers of this blog know that I am very concerned about the plight of homosexuals in the Jewish and Orthodox community. I’ve written a lot about it (including a d’var Torah on this week’s Parsha). But this march is something completely different. It’s antagonistic. It’s designed to make people’s stomach’s churn. Even if it was a ‘celebration’ of heterosexuality – like Carnival or Mardi Gras – it would be grossly out of place in Jerusalem. It’s one thing to advocate for a cause. Ramming it down people’s throats (no pun intended) is quite a different matter. It will not earn you any sympathy.
Similarly, protesting violently will not earn any sympathy. Peaceful protests, in those numbers, will be tough to control. I heard a great idea what to do – organize Chareidi rallies in secular neighborhoods. March down main street Savyon screaming ‘ve-haya machanecha kadosh’ and see how them like it. That would be fighting in kind. As it stands, everyone’s preparing for battle.
I have a slim volume entitled "The Oppression of the Jewish Religion in the 'Jewish' State of Israel". It's a documentary, published by 'Mechon Hayahadus Hacharedis' to chronicle the 'Shabbas' demonstrations (I believe it was from the early 80s. The volume was published in the late 80s.) I believe that was the last time that there was a series of mass demonstrations by the Chareidi public on this scale (perhaps the protests against the Barak court in the late 90s were, but I don't recall them being as constant as this). It's an unbelievable bit of propaganda, complete with captions like "An Israeli police gleefully pulling a Jewish beard", "The pogrom at its peak", "Where is this??? Nazi Germany?", and "The legions of Amalek's police force in the Holy Land". It's unreal. I wonder what the sequel will look like.