A sentence was handed out in the case of eight Israeli teenagers, members of a neo-Nazi gang, who beat up ultra-Orthodox Jews, gay people, and the elderly while shouting “Heil Hitler!”
While it’s true that a lot of neo-Nazi activity in Israel, especially in the Russian community, is a result of non-Jews passing themselves off as Jews and getting a free ride to Israel, at least one of those convicted is legitimately Jewish. “I’m going to live with this my whole life,” that person was quoted as saying. “My grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. She just doesn’t believe it.”
A world away, in Westhampton Beach, NY, a group is protesting the building of an eruv, which would allow observant Jews to carry food, babies, and other things on Shabbat. More neo-Nazi activity, right? Nope. Well, maybe, but the organization is calling itself “Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv.”
The JPOE are petitioning the Westhampton Village Board to turn down the plan, saying that it will “forever alter the character of our village, change its economy and challenge the religious tolerance that has long been integral to Westhampton Beach.”
Please, somebody, explain to me how forbidding a religious group to erect a nearly invisible string in order to take their babies outside “challenge[s] religious tolerance.” Maybe it’s meant to imply that Orthodox Jews are inherently intolerant, and they’ll see people of other religions and won’t be able to contain themselves?
Or, perhaps, because the presence of Orthodox Jews in a town will force these people to confront their own unacknowledged religious intolerance?