“What? We’re At War?” Haredim In Beit Shemesh Detached From Israel’s Reality
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Beit Shemesh is a bedroom community that lies about halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It has many soldiers and reservists among its population, and war consciousness is high.
Until early this week when a Hamas-fired rocket struck near Tel Aviv and another near Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh was just outside the primary missile strike danger zone. On Friday, children were reportedly still walking the streets alone and playing outdoors, and schools were open.
The city’s haredi residents in the Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood went about their business Friday as if Israel was not at war. In fact, some Ramat Beit Shemesh haredim reportedly didn’t even know Israel was at war.
Ramat Beit Shemesh is already notorious for haredi attacks on women and young girls in adjoining neighborhoods, riots against police and isolated attacks on Israeli soldiers.
The Jerusalem Post reports that a local resident named Yoni, just back home from reserve duty, gave a ride to a haredi man from Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet and “was shocked to hear that his passenger did not even not know that his country was at war.”
“Vos?” the haredi man allegedly asked Yoni in Yiddish. “We are at war?”
The Post points out that some of the more extreme haredim don’t listen to the radio or read newspapers. Television and the the Internet are banned. For these extreme haredim, the only news they get is from synagogue and mikva gossip and from pashkevils, broadside wall posters ubiquitous in haredi neighborhoods, including Ramat Beit Shemesh.
Unfortunately, no one had bothered to print a pashkvil on the war and post it in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
The break between this haredi enclave and the rest of the country at times like this is extreme.
Friday afternoon haredim reportedly sounded their weekly ‘Shabbos is coming’ warning siren even though it could easily be mistaken for the civil defense missile warning siren.
The Post reports that at least one nearby family heard the Shabbos siren, mistook it for a missile warning, panicked and entered their reinforced room, fearing the city was about to be struck by Hamas-fired missiles.