Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Israeli TV show puts wall between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews


War rages in the heart of the Middle East. Jerusalem is captured. Concrete walls go up, and a deep distrust spreads across the holy land.
The well-worn tale is used as the backdrop to multiple Israeli television dramas. Yet for one show, it is not Arabs and Jews who are doing the fighting, but Jews and Jews.
Currently touring film festivals across the world, the six-part series Autonomies envisions a clash between secular Jews and the deeply religious ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, Jews.
In this vision, set in the near future, civil war has cut the land into two countries. The coastal State of Israel is nonreligious, with the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv as its capital. Jerusalem is a walled, autonomous city-state, run by Haredi rabbis.
At first glance dystopian, the show is in fact an artistic extrapolation of real-life rifts in Israeli society. Many Israelis increasingly see secular-Haredi disaccord about the future of the state as a greater concern than the Palestinian issue, and fear it could tear the country apart from the inside.
Earlier this year, disagreements between secular and religious politicians shattered attempts to form a coalition government and dragged the country into a second round of elections. On 17 September, Israelis will go back to the polls following a campaign in which political parties have sought to exploit internal animosity.


  1. One should recall that during the early days of the Oslo Discord, the leftist response to Religious Zionists objections to the agreement was "Let the religious Jews have Yesha and we'll take the rest and get away from them"

  2. I also recall seeing in one of the treif newspapers (maariv or yediot) an opinion piece calling the religious Zionists public enemy #1. This is noteworthy, I'm not sure who neturei karta are closer to.

  3. In any event, it was a natural progression. In Shtisel, the Chareidi were beloved characters. In Shabanikim they were just like the Chilonim, only dressed nicer. In Autonomia they are the villains. Shows that they're a well-rounded community.

  4. Here is thought - since we are thinking about Teshuva right now.
    We are - within the Yeshiva frum community at least - expected to keep halacha to the fine details of the Shulchan Aruch, the Mishna Brurah etc. We are told of how great the Chofetz Chaim was. Is an ordinary person really capable of being a Chofetz Chaim? I don't think so. Even his followers cannot be that kind of Tzaddik on that level. Why then, should we keep practical halacha to that level, if we cannot reproduce the moral and ethical traits of the man? Frum people will keep kashrus to the nth degree, reject standard Kashrut of say,t eh Chief Rabbinate, but when it comes to financial and intellectual honesty, they have nothing to do with the Chofetz Chaim. Example, a Rav advertised an event at a certain price, then at the door he put the price up - totally contrary to halacha.
    The story goes that the Chofetz Chaim bought a postage stamp, but managed to send his letter for free by courier, so he destroyed the stamp, so as not to benefit financially from this. If people were ethically frum to the degree that they are with Kashrus, with "kosher phones" etc. then perhaps Moshaich would come.
    On the other hand, when they are not ethically frum, they no longer have the respect or authority to give instruction in halacha.


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