[...] It's easy, too easy, to slam the haredim. They are the classic candidates for xenophobia. Even liberal Israelis, who are outraged by patronizing remarks made by a judge to a young Ethiopian woman, by the expulsion of emigrants, or by the abuse of Palestinians, hate haredim with a clear conscience. It's commensurate with the bon-ton.
The "starving mother" affair is a clear example. The first incisive questions about her should have been directed to the hospital: Why did so much time pass before suspicions emerged that the problem has to do with the mother and not with the child? What sort of needless and damaging treatments did he undergo? What did the hospital's social work department do about the case? Was there an effort to handle this grave matter in cooperation with the community?
A hospitalized child is under the responsibility of the hospital, rather than his mother. Before we turn her into a monster, perhaps we should look at what the hospital did with the responsibility given to it.
Hadassah's hospitals make a living from the haredim. They have extensive experience in treating them. Many problems, including mental problems, were solved there over the years in a discrete manner, through dialogue with the rabbis. Even a radical haredim-hater won't believe that a haredi rabbi would want to see the death of a haredi child.
The Hassidic branch the mother belongs to is radical and isolationist. Its members are considered anomalous even within the haredi street. However, the suspicion towards the establishments cuts across factions and exists in Orthodox camps that are an inseparable part of the State.
Many haredim truly believe that the secular Israel plots to exterminate them, and if not that, then to humiliate them, disparage them, and force them to betray their faith
A responsible Israeli establishment needs to disprove these suspicions, rather than reinforce them. In no way am I suggesting that we mitigate the punishment of a haredi abuser, that we turn a blind eye to vandalism, or that we capitulate in the face of the groundless campaign managed by elements within the Eda Haredit sect against the opening of a parking lot on Shabbat.[...]