More Provocations

Ha'aretz's "Anglo File" has an article in its weekend edition on Anglo (i.e., American, pretty much) opposition and discomfort with Modi'in's policy of barring non-residents from Anabe Park.

The article is here. Here's the bit where I'm quoted:

When Baltimore native Elli Fischer drove past Modi'in's Anabeh Park during the Sukkot festival this week, he witnessed firsthand an ultra-Orthodox couple being denied entry due to a controversial new policy that restricts holiday admission to local residents.

Fischer, himself a Modi'in resident, stopped his car and arranged to have the family of five admitted as his guests - but not before arguing with park officials.
"The policy is nothing but thinly veiled anti-Haredi bigotry," Fischer, a writer, translator and ordained rabbi, chided the park officials.

Last week, before the onset of the seven-day Sukkot festival, the Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut municipality decided to close the popular park to nonresidents of the three communities in its jurisdiction, citing "overcrowding." It's the latest volley in a saga that has pitted the municipality against the mayor of the neighboring Haredi community of Modi'in Illit, Yaakov Gutterman, who recently announced that its archaeological sites would be closed to non-Haredi visitors.

Fischer, 36, suggests the new policy is linked to an incident that occurred in the park during this year's observance of Passover, when a female performer at a concert was asked to step off the stage by Haredi members of the audience.

Nothing, he says, can justify the exclusion of citizens - a principle to which many among Modi'in's burgeoning Anglo community are particularly sensitive, he explains. "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. "I think it very much affects the way that we relate to issues of discrimination and bigotry, whether it's against Haredim, Arabs or African migrants."

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