Religion Magazine

Haredi Media Again Dragging the MKs Along

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
I, and others, have pointed out before how the Haredi media is, at times, pushing the agenda, instead of the rabbonim, and even instead of the askanim. Many of the recent crises, or near-crises, in the government came as a result of the Haredi media pushing a more extreme position after the Haredi MKs were willing to overlook something and remain quiet about it.
The examples that come to mind right now are the deal with the Women of the Wall and the Reform about the Kotel area. The Haredi MKs let the deal go through, and then the Haredi media learned about it and led the attack pushing for the rejection and essentially forcing the MKs to re-open the entire arrangement.
Another example is the recent agreement to transfer money, a lot of it, to Reform organizations.
Another example was the recent fight over the location of the offices of the new broadcasting authority.
Another example is a new one. Behadrei points out that Avigdor Lieberman, the Minister of Defense, has recently said some pretty serious statements (about the religious councils not really being needed and just there as a way to pay party functionaries salaries, along with his personal statrement about not keeping shabbos and eating treif) that would normally enrage the Haredi MKs and generate serious protest,but because they don't want to rock the boat and threaten the stability of the coalition they have remained quiet.
It looks like the media is once again going where the MKs don't want to go. The question that remains open at this point is whether the MKs will follow along again or not.
That really is the task of the media, and I do not fault them for it. What bothers me about it though is that in all these cases the media is forcing an extreme position that the askanim were willing to be more liberal about and overlook (due to their narrow interests - not actually out of any sense of liberal beliefs, but that would have been the result regardless of their reasons). So, while the Haredi media complains at other times of the askanim being too extreme and often against the media that is too liberal and not classic Haredi enough, in all these other instances the media is forcing the more extreme positions.
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