Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai slated to voice his opinion regarding ultra-Orthodox influence on northern neighborhood in city council meeting ahead of anti-Chabad protest to be held next weekYoav Zitun • Ynet
After speaking out against the ultra-Orthodox community's refusal to include core subjects in its study program, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai faces another challenge in respect to the haredi public.
Huldai will be asked to comment on a campaign led by Ramat Aviv residents seeking to prevent the neighborhood from becoming haredi on Monday, a week before a massive demonstration is scheduled to be held at the area.
Huldai appears to have won substantial support from Tel Aviv's secular public after coming out against the haredi study program last month. His statements will be put to the test this week in a city council debate on the "haredization" of northern Tel Aviv.
A week later the Free Ramat Aviv foundation will hold a protest against the increasing activity of the neighborhood's Chabad house and its influence over local secular teens.
Since the residents' campaign was launched two years ago the mayor avoided making explicit statements endorsing any one side. On Monday he will be forced to comment on a motion filed by Councilman and Attorney Reuven Ladiansky from the Let Live faction.
"I intend to mention the fact that the Municipality is funding a bus line which maintains separation between male and female students in Ramat Hahayal," Ladiansky told Ynet.
The councilman claims that Chabad has been engaged in a campaign reforming local teenagers into ultra-Orthodox believers.
"For over two years many of the residents feel threatened by the ever-increasing activities of the Chabad Hassidic movement," he said. "This is demonstrated by a line of carefully thought-out and planned activities by the followers of Rabbi Milubavitch which include the establishment of religious institutes within the neighborhoods such as yeshivas, mikvehs and haredi kindergartens."
Ladiansky further noted that one may frequently come across Chabad activists trying to recruit seculars into various seminars in an effort to "reform" them.
Monday's council meeting is slated to be attended by the leaders of the Ramat Aviv campaign.
"We expect Huldai to stand by his statements and not chicken out because of a haredi macher in the Municipality," Free Ramat Aviv spokesperson Sharon Becker said. "It is no longer a local or municipal issue, but a matter of principle of a national level."
Head of the local Chabad house Rabbi Yossi Ginsburg claims that despite inviting the residents for talks the campaign leaders have never met with him.
Chabad sources also claim that the people opposing their activities comprise a small percentage of the neighborhood's residents and that most of the locals are pleased with Chabad's presence.
What Ramat Aviv residents have most objected to is Chabad missionizing children without permission of the parents.
Chabad regularly targets children below bar and bat mitzvah age.
Chabad sees nothing wrong with this.
[Hat Tip: Maskil.]