Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Tishrei 5760 - September 15, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Forced to See the Truth

by M. HaLevy

One of the more notable details of the last election was the venom with which the political left lashed out at the Torah- observant community.

Convinced that the chareidi neighborhoods were hotbeds of massive voter fraud, the left wing called in an army of "observers" to make sure all of our votes were honest.

One of those observers was Professor Ariel Rubinstein, a lecturer in economics in the Tel Aviv University. He recently publicized his more sober impressions in Ha'aretz, after the encounter with the truth freed him from a number of preconceived notions.

Professor Rubinstein was called to serve as an observer in a polling station defined by the leftists as "difficult" and habitually fraudulent.

Although he is a card-carrying member of the Barak camp, Rubinstein writes that he was forced to admit that the scaremongering campaign about a "wave of forgeries" had no basis.

"One has to have many preconceived notions in order to continue to believe in the existence of a huge "black conspiracy" that forges the results of the elections in Israel."

His fellow observers apparently refused to see the light.

"Two weeks after the elections, they invited me to a summing up discussion near Ramat Aviv Gimmel. Most of the attendees belonged to a group which advocates the rule of law, public order, separation of state and religion and supported Barak.

"The worst thing I heard was that someone identified a chareidi who voted twice." No massive voter fraud. No conspiracy. Just one person doing the wrong thing.

He added: "There was an assertive woman there, who boasted that she was from one of the veteran kibbutzim in the north, and then went on to vent her disgust for the chareidi observer who sat with her in the polling station.

He concluded: "More than twenty years ago, we founded the Peace Now movement, because we were disgusted by the attitude of those who regarded Arabs as `two-footed animals'. Those of us who wish to be philosophically consistent should be equally shocked by the attitude toward the chareidim."

The same issue of Ha'aretz took note of the false "tolerance" of the leftists. Doron Rosenblum wrote about a media program which presented an "encounter between the extremes."

"For us the human being is the center," explained one of the younger Meretz members to one of the Shas youngsters at event.

"But how aggressive, nervous and vociferous can that `man' be, especially at a friendly encounter?

"With terrifying shouts, bulging neck veins, fire in the eyes, outstretched hands ready to pierce their rivals eyes, the leftist, secular youths tried to tell the chareidim about the importance of humanism and dialogue," Rosenblum wrote.

Rosenblum adds: "As if to teach us about how the other side talks to each other, one of the Shas youngsters was seen leaving the discussion, delightedly saying: `Nice, agreeable's possible to speak with everyone."

"Yes, a congenial and pleasant atmosphere...screaming at the top of your lungs," Rosenblum concluded.

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