Who’s the Victim, again?
As predicted, yesterday saw huge Haredi demonstrations in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Imanuel. According to estimates, some 100,000 people took to the street in protest against the Supreme Court ruling that those responsible for the continued discrimination in a girls’ school in Imanuel be sent to prison.
The media of course reports non-stop on the issue. This is as it should be, and I have no objection to that. There is, however, one aspect of this massive coverage that surprises, and irks, me.
We never hear from the victims. No one even talks about them or tells the story from their perspective.
Instead, the media – TV, press and radio – presents the whole affair as a clash between the Haredim and the state. It’s as if everyone had forgotten that the core issue here isn’t that the judicial system is sending poor, distraught parents to prison. The core issue here, is that the discrimination and prejudice against Mizrahi Jews in the Haredi sector is so widespread and accepted, that Ashkenazi Haredim aren’t even willing to let Mizrahi girls study with their daughters.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is racism. And it’s illegal.
By ignoring this, the media buys into the Haredi narrative of an aggressive state gratuitously harassing innocent people who just want to live their lives in peace and quiet.
Another thing that puzzles me is where Shas is in all of this. This is a party whose raison d’être is to fight Ashkenazi racism and discrimination against Jews of Middle Eastern origins. Where are they now? How can they abandon the girls in Imanuel and sleep at night?