Sunday, March 2, 2014

Huge gathering of Jews in the streets of Jerusalem today

Haredi Jews in Jerusalem's Old City

Hundreds of thousands of religious Jews are flocking to Jerusalem today for a huge prayer rally protest against legislation to draft the haredi young men into the army. 
See my previous post for more about it.

Ynet adds "Inside the haredi community there were calls from rabbis ... to attend the rally, and the community's leaders gave a rare permission for women to attend – but on separate streets. All boys from the ages of nine and older were also called to attend."

It probably has never happened since the Israelites gathered at Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments and probably will not happen again today,  but the Talmud says that a special blessing should be recited when one sees 600,000 Jews gathered together in one place:
ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם חכם הרזים
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
the wise One who knows all secrets.

(Rashi interprets this to mean that that only Hashem knows the secrets that each of these individual people think.)

Meanwhile 4,500 (some say 3,500) police and "ushers" are assigned to try to keep order in today's huge gathering.
Times of Israel is having a live blog to update us as it happens.


Adullamite said...

If David and Joshua joined the army why not the Haradi?

VP said...

I am curious about the effective turn out of the rally...

Hels said...

Either conscription has to be ended for all citizens or all citizens have to obey the state's laws. You cannot have a select few who avoid conscription, choose not to pay taxes, drive dangerously on the roads or evade any other state law.

William Kendall said...

I hope things have gone peacefully today...

Dina said...

Adullamite, ha, good point.

VP, this morning TV news says that half a million turned out for the rally. The organizers claim 600,000. Indeed, one of the rabbi leaders yesterday said the appropriate blessing.

Hels, not only that, the religious young men receive living subsidies from the government while studying in yeshiva.

William, thank God, no violence this time.

José Mendonça said...

"...leaders gave a rare permission for women to attend – but on separate streets." - I don't know what to say... Nevertheless, what a great hat! :-)

VP said...

Ouch... That is still a lot of people, even more in Israel!

Dina said...

Jose, yeah, well, that's how it is in religious parts of Jerusalem. The fur hat is the traditional shtreimel

VP, yes, the rally was of biblical proportions (as they say). Amazing that it went smoothly.

Kay said...

I hope everybody finds a peaceful resolution.

Gunn said...

When I was 17-18 years old, together with some girlfriends we got lost in Jerusalem, and came to an area where orthodox jews were living. Some of the men were throwing stones at us!
We got scared and ran away..... We did not do anything..... and could not see or read any signs saying that tourists were not allowed walking there.

Jerusalem is a fantastic city. And we had plenty of good memories from the city too. We just got so scared..... and have never been back. Of course I know people who have had great holidays there.

Dina said...

Gunn, I'm sorry about that incident. Probably you girls had a tiny bit of skin not covered. But throwing stones is really over-reacting and terrible. Even the police is afraid to go into some of the extreme ultra Orthodox neighborhoods.
There are a few signs asking people not to come in in groups and demanding strict modest dress codes.