JERUSALEM (VINnews) — It took a while but this week even the secular public’s leaders in Israel realized that Chareidim are not “spreaders of disease” but rather principled people who care for their children’s spiritual future. Two prominent secular leaders who cannot be suspected of any sympathy for Chareidim came out with statements buttressing the Chareidi decision last month to open Talmudei Torah despite government opposition.
The first, left-wing activist Eldad Yaniv, wrote on the Mako site an article entitled “the Chareidim were right from the beginning. It’s a crime that our children are not studying” and added that “the Chareidim were right from the first minute and it became apparent that we secular and national-religious parents behaved like an irresponsible bunch.”
Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman also claimed that after consulting with experts he came to the conclusion that we “must open all classes in the schools from first grade to twelfth grade. When one makes a balance sheet with the dangers of coronavirus as opposed to the phenomenon of a lost generation, mental depression, anxieties, falling into drugs, there isn’t even a question. With all the attendant dangers ,we must open schools for all grades.”
Chareidi journalist Yisrael Cohen noted that both leaders were full of criticism when Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and the Admorim decided to open the school year despite the levels of infection but now after the dimensions of spiritual and emotional damage to young children have become apparent, they have effectively come over to his view even if they are ashamed to apologize for their previous condemnations.
From the outset the Chareidi leaders said that despite the inherent dangers to health of the sick people and those around them, we need to continue to maintain Torah study and the educational system even under restrictions. At every stage it was clear that total closing down of the system was not an option.
A month after studies commenced in Cheders and Talmudei Torah, secular educators admit that “our children are turning into zombies in front of flashing screens” and added that there is no possibility of discipline or of proper distance study for young children.
It is also aggravating to note that the secular press totally ignores the fact that even though studies continued as usual during this period, all the Chareidi towns went from red to green, meaning that the levels of infection plummeted despite the studies. The same media did not hesitate to castigate the Chareidim for violating regulations and vilely accused them of spreading disease. Why don’t they publicize the fact that the Chareidim have the lowest transmission rates in Israel? Where are the reports from “green” Bnei Brak? When it was amenable to attack Chareidim they did this gleefully but at present after the situation has proven them wrong, it’s time for them to learn from the Chareidim, fight for their principles and open the schools to save their children’s future. An apology to Rav Chaim Kanievsky would also be in place.