10/04/2012

ADDeRabbi, Agent Provocateur


For those not following along at home, my fair hometown of Modiin has barred non-residents from visiting its spacious and beautiful Anabe Park during vacations and on Hol Ha-Mo'ed. This is a result of a pishing contest between Modiin's Mayor Haim Bibas and Modi'in Ilit's Mayor Yaakov Guterman, plus it plays into a strong anti-Haredi (and occasionally anti-religious) sentiment amongst a minority of Modiin residents (a political party, Modiin Hofshit, ran on an anti-religious platform and got only a few hundred votes for city council).

The new policy upsets me greatly, and I wanted to see how the policy was being implemented generally. As I got in line to enter the park, I could see that a few cars ahead of me the line was being held up by a Haredi family insisting on entering the park. Since the new regulations allow for Modiin residents to bring guests, I went and invited the family in as my guests. After a while, the guards let us in on that basis. Serendipitously, a reporter from Haaretz was there at the time. Her report is here (Hebrew) and here (English - paywall). The paragraphs relevant to my story are:


As the argument continued, a Modi’in resident, Eli Fischer, decided to see whether everyone was really being barred from the park, or only those in ultra-Orthodox garb.

“He’s my guest, let him in,” said Fischer, in an effort to help Tirnauer, at first without success. The guards checked Fischer’s identity card, and then started questioning Tirnauer and his family about their relationship. One of the ushers called a municipal security guard to help.

“He’s not really your guest, he’s here to make a provocation,” the security guard told Fischer. But Fischer persisted after the getting approval of his superiors the security guard allowed Fischer and his new acquaintances into the park.

“The park is empty, and I wanted to see what would happen, since according to the instructions that were publicized, [the park] is reserved for Modi’in residents and their guests,” said Fischer. “I don’t know why they were questioning me.”

The municipality said that the confrontation involving Tirnauer and Fischer was the first to occur since the instructions were issued, claiming it was a planned provocation by the media.
“During all the days that entrance to the park was restricted, there wasn’t a single incident, except for one in which a visitor who isn’t a city resident came with a reporter to create a provocation and get a headline,” the municipality said.
 The Hebrew version also includes a Gemara that I cited for the benefit of the reporter, from Sukkah 27b:
"All Israel are fit to dwell in a single sukkah."

9 comments:

Sadchan Lady said...

Your post left out some pertinent information.
1. Last Chol hamoed Pessach a stir was created when chardim from Modiin Ilit insisted that a women performer not perform.
2. The mayor of Modiin Ilit a few months ago announced that he will not permit non-religious visitors to the archeological park in his municipality.
3. The residents of Modiin Ilit have chosen a life style which inhibits their ability to pay municipal tax, require concentrated housing with limited room available for parks. To compensate for this by encroaching on the neighboring Modiin park isn't fair.

I have a daughter and grandchildren in Modiin, and I have seen instances when there was overcrowding due to the resedints of Modiin Ilit

Elli Fischer said...

1. It was one charedi woman. She did not insist, she asked. And the performer acquiesced (my wife and children were there when it happened, by the way). And how do you know that she was from Modiin Illit? Instituting the present policy on that basis is akin to killing a fly with a howitzer.
2. I have noted that this is nothing but a pissing contest between the two mayors. Our mayor has now stooped to the level of Modiin Illit's mayor. Wonderful.
3. Maybe it's not fair, but the answer is not bigotry.

Crowded, yes. Overcrowded, no. The park is humongous.

goinggoinggone said...

The restriction on visitations by the municipality of Modiin is only for the chagim, Elli. If it were bigotry, it would be for the entire year, as the mayor of Modiin Illit has ruled for non-Hareidim.

Further, such restrictions on local parks has its precedent in Raanana. Restrictions are permitted there, even though the park was built with national funds, because local residents pay the cost of maintaining the park. It is only fair that during periods of concentrated usage when the park is damaged that those who do not pay taxes pay their share for the repairs.

The creative solution seems simple - charge an entry fee to cover the additional wear and tear on the park, and to cover security, and donate any profits gained to covering the cost of an information campaign directed at Modiin Illit offering the message that closing their archeological sites the entire year to "chiloinim" is intolerance.

You're on the wrong side of this one, Elli.

Unknown said...

From the top post: ">Americans in particular grew up with the legacy of the fight for civil rights as a part of our cultural DNA," said Fischer, who invoked the images of separate water fountains for blacks and whites in the United States."

Such pious intonations from a 36 year old are almost as absurd as they are pompous. The "legacy" of the civil rights era is about to be booted out of office - a guy elected for no other reason than the color of his skin. Real great legacy, that.

And how you invoke imagery of separate water fountains, when to this day in Meah Shearim men and women have to walk on separate sides of the street, is beyond me.

For the record, I have no dog in this fight or in the religious holy war. What I dont like are busybodies who grandiosely think of themselves as heroic crusaders for a self-defined notion of "civil rights", witlessly causing 2 problems for every 1 they imagine themselves to have solved.

Elli Fischer said...

Potshots from an anonymous commenter . Love it.

Yitz Waxman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yitz Waxman said...

I grew up in Delaware and the state parks always charged more for admission to out of state visitors. Fair enough.

Does Modiin exclude admission to non-residents altogether during these times, or do they simply demand a fee?

Yehudis said...

Moddiin excludes admission.
@ goinggoinggone-
excluding non residents during the times that Hareidim are most likely to use the park- " Bein hazmanim" break for yeshivas and kollels,ie summer time, and Hol Hamoed,is near blatant bigotry. Perhaps even more so than if it was an all year policy.

Yehudis said...

@ unknown-
when was the last time you were in Meah Shearim? I have never seen women on one side and men on the other.