Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unwanted Neighbors

Try to imagine the following text in a Swedish newspaper as part of an article about Malmö:

The meeting is held at a vacant lot where the municipality tried to build a daycare center for Muslim children a few months ago. But the non-Muslim inhabitants stopped the plans by blocking the approach for tractors and caterpillars. Then they guarded it, day and night, for several weeks.

The action was the start of a more organized struggle against the encroachment by the unwanted neighbors. Now, the activists sit in a ring on blankets on the ground, debating the text of the next flyer. All have white shirts with the text “A Free Malmö” on them.

“It starts with daycare centers. Then it’s schools, mosques, religious institutions. With that tactic they’ve already taken over several districts,” says Erik Svensson, chair of the local action group.

Can’t imagine it? Me neither. It just won’t compute — nothing like this could be ever published in the Swedish press. The author, the editor, and the publisher would be convicted of hets mot folkgrupp quicker than you can say “folkhemmet”. The activists described in the article would be hunted down like sewer rats and brought to justice.

But the above text was actually part of a recently-published article in the newspaper Sydsvenskan. All I did was change the religion in question — from Orthodox Judaism to Muslim — and the names and locations. The author was writing about the encroachment of Orthodox Jews in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Our Swedish correspondent Henrik W translated the article, and includes this introduction:

It is rather remarkable that a Swedish newspaper has the time to seek out and report on the plight of secular Jews in Jerusalem being ousted by their Orthodox compatriots, while the unofficial ban on doing this sort of reporting on the ever-spreading districts dominated by Muslims and Mideast/African immigrants in Sweden is enforced more rigorously than ever.

Apparently Sydsvenskan feels that language that would be deemed racist and Islamophobic if it were applied to the Swedish situation — witness the numerous references to “taking over” and the reported glee with which the Orthodox tell their secular neighbors that their efforts are useless — is perfectly safe in a foreign setting that involves Jews, not Muslims.

The specific mechanics of the push differ; in Western Europe, the housing prices fall where Muslims arrive in numbers, as opposed to the Israeli situation, but the feeling of encroachment, of being driven out of your own home and your land by a smiling, triumphant enemy who basks in the knowledge of his demographic inevitability is familiar to every Western European who ever decided to move “because you simply can’t live here anymore.”

And yet no European newspaper would ever dare to look at our own rapidly growing Muslim zones. Those who are interested in the mechanics of the profound change sweeping European societies will have to be satisfied with trying to match their knowledge with the reports from countries and religions that European MSM feels it’s safe to report about.

Here is Henrik W’s translation of the article from Sydsvenskan:

Ultra-Orthodox take over Western Jerusalem
By Arne Lapidus


JERUSALEM — Women in their long dresses and the black-coated men close streets to traffic on the Sabbath, demand “decent” clothing, and practice intolerance against everyone who doesn’t conform entirely to biblical prescriptions.

Wherever they move in large numbers, others soon move away. “Here on our street, it began less than a year ago,” says Pnina Dadon, 43-year old mother of three in the Kiryat Yovel south-eastern Jerusalem district.

“The furniture trucks come and go all the time. In my house, the Orthodox have moved into at least 10 of 14 flats during the last year.”

A young woman with a huge troop of children passes by. “We fight against it. We demonstrate. I am active in the election to break the power of the Ultra-Orthodox in the municipality. But what can you do? We have at most three children, while they produce children at an industrial scale,” says Pnina Dadon, who used to work at a senior citizens’ home but is currently unemployed.

She stresses time and time again that she respects the tradition, but feels that the intolerance is a threat to her lifestyle.

“Recently, two women spat at me when I was dressed in a T-shirt. And in our building they put up a sign with the exhortation to ‘Dress Decently!’ A neighbor lady tore it down.”
- - - - - - - - -
We call on her neighbors in the three story building on Zangwill Street. The young Ultra-Orthodox family Bel moved in six months ago. Sometimes, they borrow milk and eggs from each other.

“We moved here because it was inexpensive. We couldn’t afford to live in one of our old areas. There, prices are spiking due to the housing shortage,” says Eliyahu Bel, 24.

“I’m not bothered by people driving cars and playing music during the Sabbath around here. I know it’s only a question of time. Every vacant flat is filled with Ultra-Orthodox. In a few years, we’ll have take over this area,” he says.

His wife Shimrit, 23, provides cookies and soda. The children Ariel, 3, and Yael, 1, cling to their parents and dedicate themselves to the their chip bag. Soon, the entire couch is covered in crumbs. Shimrit Bel is busy preparing for the Sabbath that starts at sundown in a few hours. She’s baking a cake and preparing the Sabbath dinner.

Still, she sits down for a while under a large painting of the Wailing Wall. The other wall is covered by an equally huge portrait of the legendary Rabbi Eliezer Shach.

“You’ve already lost the fight. In a few years, you’ll be the only non-Orthodox left on this street,” she says mockingly to Pnina Dadon. “What use are your demonstrations against us and your handing out of flyers? Your protests are worthless. You know we’ll take over here, just as we did in Ramat Eshkol and Bayt Vegan.”

Eliyahu Bel fills in:

“You seculars marry late, perhaps at 40. You are in India for five years, spend five years at university. Meanwhile, we produce children.” “We are going to have at least 7 kids,” says his wife, “but absolutely not 12-13.”

They live in a 70 square meter [750 sq. ft.] three-room apartment, with a pending building permit for two more rooms. Eliyahu Bel works at a huge chicken processing plant. His job is to ensure that the Kosher rules, the Jewish food regulations, are followed to the last dot. Shimrit is a housewife and makes a small side income from sewing at home. Pnina Dadon tells us she lowers the TV and radio volume as far as she can during Sabbath so that she doesn’t disturb the religious families in the house.

“But where am I to go? I don’t want to leave Jerusalem. I love this town,” she says.

“You can stay here. If you don’t provoke us, we won’t bother you. Or else you’ll get a good price on your flat and can move to a secular district, like Gilo,” Eliyahu Bel says.

“But Gilo is already Orthodox too.”

“Just Gilo A. The rest is still non-Orthodox.”

Kiryat Yovel is one of five districts in the city that are considered non-Orthodox today. A long list of districts that were formerly secular are now entirely dominated by the Ultra-Orthodox. This development is recent; it has happened during the last few years. The former inhabitants move to non-Orthodox areas — and tens of thousands of the economically strongest and most well-educated leave Jerusalem for Tel Aviv and other liberal cities along the Mediterranean coast.

A few blocks from the house at Zangwill Street, the local activist group for the “A Free Jerusalem” movement is gathering. They discuss next week’s activities and arrange a traditional ceremony for welcoming the Sabbath — to show that they don’t oppose the religion.

The meeting is held at a vacant lot where the municipality tried to build a daycare center for Ultra-Orthodox children a few months ago. But the non-Orthodox inhabitants stopped the plans by blocking the approach for tractors and caterpillars. Then they guarded it, day and night, for several weeks.

The action was the start of a more organized struggle against the encroachment by the unwanted neighbors. Now, the activists sit in a ring on blankets on the ground, debating the text of the next flyer. All have white shirts with the text “A Free Jerusalem” on them.

“It starts with daycare centers. Then it’s schools, Synagogues, religious institutions. With that tactic they’ve already taken over several districts,” says Dani Mandler, chair of the local action group.

“We don’t protest the Ultra-Orthodox. We protest the municipality not building housing for them.”

“The only solution in Jerusalem is to separate. Just like with the Palestinians. We can’t live with the Ultra-Orthodox. They have their needs, we have ours,” says Dani Mandler, who is a professor of chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

During the last days before the country elections, the action group is concentrating on get-out-the-vote efforts. Last time, the low turnout resulted in Jerusalem being governed by an Ultra-Orthodox Mayor for five years, and Dani Mandler thinks the problem has been exacerbated during his term.

“It’s about our identity and our right to live without coercion,” says action group member Esti Kirmayer.

“We need to be responsible and vote. There are streets where just a third of the inhabitants voted last time. It’s our fault things turned out the way they did.”

While the secular action group discusses flyer texts, the religious party Shas is distributing flyers with election propaganda to Friday shoppers at the Kiryat Yovel mall a few hundred meters away. Shas is the only party present.

“People are interested in our message. They like us because we help people, we have daycare centers and schools. They see us between elections, not just during the campaigns,” says Moshe Shraga, a party activist.

5 comments:

Jewel Atkins said...

We must all learn to read between the lines with the press, now.

Vladtepesblog.com said...

If it comes down to a "welcome the Sabath" celebration or T.G.I.F. Ill take thank god its friday every time

Czechmade said...

Nothing new, in 1968 the Soviet singer Okudjawa sung about the "American soldier" and everybody knew he sung against Soviet occupation of
Czechoslovakia.

Study Persian, the same kryptolanguage was developped for breathing purposes in Iran. In Lebanon if you say only once a week "I hate Israel" it means you fell in love with Israel etc.

In a theater a non-communist actor was expected to pack his language with hidden meanings. In the end any nonsense pronounced could be interpreted by the public as anti-communist and everybody loudly applauded.

I suggest you start shouting "We are all Iranians". And start praising the old Persian kings, generals and legislators (equality of women in preislamic Persia!). It will be difficult for your inquisitionists to stop it.

The deafening silence about the Iranian resistence against islam is a result of harmony of big business and the left.

The astounding symetry in Iran: mullahs and National guards running the big business.

Derailed Cluetrain said...

Czech:

Western Europe's population never got the taste for that sort of official dissent by other means.

Even now, the number of people reading that article who make that connection is minuscule compared to the number that just get a vague feel of unease.

Czechmade said...

I know. That´s why I think it is more important to promote education first before any political attitude.

We are free to understand within minutes. But we do not do that.