HAREDIM GATHER en masse in Bnei Brak. Is their leadership’s political model sustainable?.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
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A haredi rabbi and yeshiva dean has aroused consternation by comparing the State of Israel unfavorably with the Nazis, who he said knew that it was proper to separate men and women as opposed to the Jewish state.
Speaking at an election rally on Saturday night of the haredi Degel Hatorah party, one-half of the United Torah Judaism Knesset faction, dean of the Tushia Yeshiva in Tifrah, Rabbi Aviezer Piltz, went on a diatribe against Zionism and the State of Israel and its false promise of redemption.
At one point, he addressed secularism in Israel and particularly the legal prohibitions against gender separation in the public domain.
“It’s forbidden to travel on gender-separate buses, is there a state in the world where they don’t allow [gender] separation on buses?” he demanded. “Apart from this country, here they don’t allow it. This is a state of idol worship, even the Nazis knew that there should be separate living quarters for men and women.”
Discrimination on the basis of gender is prohibited by law in Israel, and the High Court of Justice ruled in 2011 that gender separation on public buses is prohibited.
Private buses and bus services can be gender separated.
Holocaust scholar and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office Efraim Zuroff condemned Piltz’s comments, and noted that the Nazis separated men and women in concentration camps as a form of repression and torture.
“This is an unfortunate statement, and I’m hoping that he didn’t really want to convey a message that Israeli society is worse than the Nazis,” said Zuroff. “That a rosh yeshiva could say something like that is shocking and unacceptable. The honorable rabbi should apologize for this comment, which at least would be a constructive step.”
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