Religion Magazine

Bet Shemesh: Violence. Police, Division of City, and Aliza Bloch

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
I have avoided Bet Shemesh news for a while now... but the time has come to return to Bet Shemesh..
Here are two pieces of big news items in Bet Shemesh, though they are clearly connected... I just don't know if the timing of these two items happening on the same day is intentional or coincidental..
First, yesterday Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol announced that he has gone to the police and has filed a complaint regarding residents of the city who have incited against him and the haredi community, incitement to murder.
Examples of incitement included in the complaint were all from online posts that contain hate, deprecating comments and insults, slander, libel, curses, aimed at himself (Abutbol), the Haredi community, the community's representatives in city council, and against the Ashkenazi community, as well as calls for illegal violence, a tax revolt, banning a community and discrimination.. haredim have been called cancers, pigs, filthy, satan's children, traitors, penguins, etc.. as well, there have been actual calls to violence against haredim and to chase the haredim out of town, to throw them to the dogs, things like "we will break your bones", "we will beat you up", etc. and many curses like they should all get cancer, the entire heftziba neighborhood should be destroyed, get a heart attack, etc.
The city spokesman, Matti Rosenzweig, said that this is the beginning of a new zero tolerance policy against violence, and it includes even verbal violence.
It seems the police have confirmed that the complaint has been filed and they are looking into it to determine if anything illegal has been done. so far, the police said, nothing among the materials submitted by the mayor contain any proof of actual threats to murder.
source: Bechadrei and Kikar
Some points in that are just amazing:
 * the Haredi community nationally is talking about a possible tax revolt, and that is ok, but when some local non-haredis talk about a similar option it is illegal, considered incitement, and becomes content in a police complaint.
 * Moshe Abutbol is complaining on behalf of the ashkenazi community?
 * "zero tolerance" is interesting, so why doesnt he complain to the police about the shul that was vandalized by extremists two weeks ago? what about attacks on buses? what about a local haredi askan and radio broadcaster who yesterday called for the air force to shoot a missile and wipe out the entire "old Bet Shemesh"?
and now, part b of this item, after the police complaint, Abutbol is working on a libel suit. He plans to sue, for 150,000nis, anybody who writes negative comments about haredim online. source: Kikar
I wonder if that will only include people writing about haredim in Bet Shemesh or haredim anywhere they might be..
The police complaint is one thing. If he was incited against, he should file a complaint. A suit agsint people who slander him, that is also fine. But is he the defender of all haredim that he has to busy himself with lawsuits against people who write against haredim? let those victims sue for themselves. He is mayor of a city and needs to work and focus on the city, not on all this extracurricular activity.
Anyways, on to item #2...
Plans to divide the city are stepping up. Even Eli Cohen is now supporting the division, after remaining opposed to the idea for a long time. Yesterday Cohen made a very long announcement explaining his reasons why this is the only option and even calls on Abutbol and members of his coalition to join in this effort and do it properly and orderly. Cohen and the members of the opposition behind him held a press conference yesterday afternoon making the announcement official.
Abutbol's response was that it is not going to happen, is not practical, and the government would not do it and it does not make economic sense.
There is definitely going to be a big push to divide the city, and the guys in the Likud are very powerful and can move mountains among the MKs and Ministers, but in the end I cannot see it being approved. It would be bad for the country as a precedent, and while perhaps in Bet Shemesh they are looking for a narrower solution, the government has to keep a broader perspective on things and cannot let this happen.
The third item:
Aliza Bloch (remember her?) is suing Naftali Bennet and Habayit Hayehudi for leaving her in tremendous debt and not fulfilling their commitments to her. I am not surprised. I hope she wins her case.
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