Today: The big news in the Israeli media is the drug trafficking in Mea Shearim and Ramat Beit Shemesh. An undercover agent busted a whole gang whose members are seemingly Haredim and national religious Jews.
The questions I am always asking is “Who exactly are those guys being arrested?”
Mea Shearim is a general definition and, as soon as you hear it, you think “Wow, Toldot Aharon, Edah Charedit, Neturei Karta, dark alleyways, demonstrations and modesty signs.”
All online news articles do not mention the background of the criminals. However, some comments on the haredi Be’Chadrei HaCharedim hint to haredi Jews of Sephardi origin.
I am not accusing the Sephardi world and I am not justifying the Ashkenazi haredi world. There are criminals all over the place and wearing a Kaftan, a black Kipa or a Streimel doesn’t mean that the person is so holy. There are crooks in every society.
I have to admit that my first guess was: The criminals are probably all those weirdo Breslover Ba’alei Teshuvas with a criminal record. Now people say that I am a rassist, blabla. I can live with that because I know that I am not. 🙂
However … Jerusalem has had various weirdo Breslover experience in the past and you just need to talk to the police for five minutes in order to receive a long crime list. 🙂
I am not judging and it doesn’t really matter whether these drug criminals are of Ashkenazi or Sephardi origin. Whether they were born into society or did Teshuva (repentance). Every society has it’s problems and no one on this planet is super duper holy!
Haredim also comment that it would be better looking for a job instead of hanging around the whole day without going to the Yeshiva. I see many young male Haredim in Jerusalem who don’t go to study but just walk around in parks, secular neighbourhoods or even sit in cafes with a Mehadrin Hechsher. It looks that some of them are simply bored but, on the other hand, don’t dare to go against society. And then there are those who pretend to be holy as long as they are in their own neighbourhood. As soon as they walk around in areas where nobody knows them, they start acting in a secular way.
I find it a pity that the media is using the general term MEA SHEARIM in the headlines. No one would have done so if this had happened in another neighbourhood. But Mea Shearim in the headlines sells but also causes more prejudices against the entire haredi population.