To the Editor:
I'm writing in reaction to your front-page report of 24
Kislev regarding " . . . anti-chareidi violence in Beit
Shemesh." As a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh B', and an
eyewitness to the events here on Shabbos Parsha Vayishlach
(and similar events other Shabbosim), I take great issue with
the way in which you have chosen to report on these
unfortunate events. The report was at best highly exaggerated
and at worst contained outright falsehoods which ultimately
degrade the credibility of your newspaper.
Although the actions of the secularist demonstrators by
coming and honking their horns etc. were highly provocative
and disturbing, to call these actions "violence" is very
questionable. To speak of a "pogrom" is extremely offensive
for those who have some understanding of what that word
actually means. I was present at the demonstration within 10-
15 minutes or so of the audible honking, until the area was
virtually completely cleared an hour or so later. There was a
lot of cursing and yelling between the demonstrators and
counter-demonstrators. I even saw some spitting at each
other, but the only weapons visible were those of the police.
It's true that lo ro'inu eino ra'aya, however given
that the whole area of the demonstration was directly in my
sight, I simply do not believe that, as you reported,
"rioters beat passerby," or that one of them "took out a huge
knife" and pursued people. At one point some of the neighbors
here approached the police with something -- I couldn't see
what it was -- that they said had been thrown at their house.
Could be. The most physically violent episode that I saw was
when police tried to arrest a counter-demonstrator -- I'm
unsure why -- and the crowd of counter-demonstrators
surrounded and pulled him away from the greatly outnumbered
police. There was some shoving and pulling, some broken
eyeglasses, vetu lo [midi].
The way that you have reported on these events was
unprofessional, hysterically-toned, and merely fans the
flames of hatred among Am Yisroel. I am in favor of
principled, legislative action to close Nahar HaYarden Avenue
(the disputed street) out of respect for Shabbos kodesh
and the feelings of our community. We are a majority here,
and in the end I believe the street will be closed. Let's
make the truth our ally in this righteous cause, and report
on events with accuracy and moderation. There is no mitzva
leshanos mipnei hasin'a.
Ramat Beit Shemesh 'B'
The Editor Replies: Our original report was based on
sources that we considered reliable, but it now seems that
their description of events was exaggerated, as our reader