Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Tammuz 5767 - July 5, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Justice Ministry Official, the Reform Movement and Ha'aretz Join Forces Against Chareidi Jewry

By Betzalel Kahn

A high-ranking Justice Ministry official, the Reform Movement and Ha'aretz have joined forces to wage an unprecedented battle against chareidi Jewry, trying to bring its institutions to the point of collapse by cutting off or reducing budget funding based on "professional considerations."

For years complaints have been heard repeatedly about Atty. Amnon De Hartoch, who oversees support for institutions within the government and is known for seeking out every opportunity to scheme against Torah-based schools and institutions. Often resorting to totally groundless interpretations of various laws and regulations, he works tirelessly to cut off funding sources for Torah institutions, avreichim, schools, teachers, transportation to Chinuch Atzmai schools, etc. The primary victims of his directives are yaldei Yisroel, who are forced to suffer ongoing, unprecedented and systematic abuse for choosing to attend chareidi schools.

In the course of the cultural war he is trying to wage, De Hartoch has also issued sophisticated, brazen unrestrained remarks reflecting his personal sentiments against the chareidi public, mainly in a personal court case he filed.

"A destructive triumvirate has declared war," said MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni. "This trio has three heads, each one hammering away constantly with its sledgehammer, and all three are coordinating their stances." Rabbi Gafni's remarks are a reference to De Hartoch's new link with his friend Gilad Kariv of the Reform Movement, who has often filed High Court petitions against the chareidi education system and recently even filed a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee for insulting a public worker. Meanwhile Ha'aretz has been publishing articles filled with defamatory remarks — without providing support or reactions — solely intended to deprecate the chareidi public.

Representatives from the State Comptroller's department in charge of government ministries began investigating a detailed complaint submitted by Rabbi Gafni regarding De Hartoch's conduct. After several meetings with De Hartoch, another meeting is expected to be held between De Hartoch and the State Comptroller and his staff.

De Hartoch has been known to take advantage of his vested authority to trample over the chareidi education system at every possible opportunity. In one incident he instructed the City of Hadera to close a local Chinuch Atzmai school, Shuvu, for "lack of structural suitability." A high-voltage electrical line ran close to the school, supposedly posing a risk of electromagnetic radiation to the students. In this and other cases, claims Rabbi Gafni, De Hartoch exceeded his authority since support funding is unrelated to environmental issues.

De Hartoch once tried to deprive chareidi teachers of their salary during the summer break and was harshly reprimanded by the State Comptroller. In another case he made a unilateral decision to require 45 hours of weekly study at kollelim, but later, to invent a new interpretation to undermine the Torah world in another area, he decided to claim avreichim are required to study 35 hours per week.

Recently the Knesset had to legislate a special law to require local authorities to provide chareidi schools equal funding in order to remedy the damage caused by De Hartoch, who had ordered local authorities to deny the schools basic funding. On other occasions he has worked to take away funding from Torah-based cultural activities and rabbonim in outlying settlements. Recently he issued a new directive effectively depriving the Torah Core Group run by the chareidi community in Yeruchom of funding, re-channeling it to a national-religious Torah Core Group in the city.

For years Ha'aretz has been abetting these efforts by running innumerable articles against the chareidi public and chareidi MKs. Public figures have expressed surprise that in most cases the reports failed to include reactions from chareidi spokesmen — a clear departure from journalistic ethics — and said these articles are tendentious and extreme in terms of style. Presumably Ha'aretz, often considered a very professional, highbrow daily, would never write such articles about the Arab sector, for example.


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