When I first heard the news that a Chareidi woman had signed up to be on the Meretz party list, I dismissed it as a joke. After all, the definition of "being religious" is very loose. It was possible that this woman used to be Chareidi and still kept a semblance of observance, or perhaps she insisted on going to shul more than once a year.
But it seems that Tzvia Greenfield still considers herself a genuine, card carrying member of the Chareidi community. Somewhere along the line she became convinced that the Meretz agenda best reflected her Chareidi values and decided it was time to make a stand.
Well, as I and many others have noted, there's plenty wrong in the Chareidi community that needs fixing and speaking out about but I don't think joining Meretz is the way to do it.
As Tali Farkash notes, being Chareidi isn't simply about not having a television in your home or wearing a bad wig in public. It goes far beyond that:
Many people, including me, fail to understand how it is possible to bridge the gap between the views shared by Meretz voters, who believe that the Bible is a collection of folklore tales, and haredim who believe it is the divine word of God.
But on the brink of the abyss between the two sides stands Tzvia, one foot here and the other there, and with impressive skill manages to feel like she is part of both sides at the same time.
It appears that a PhD in philosophy, like Greenfield has, is necessary in order to bridge this impossible gap.
To be honest, I do not presume to be able to put together complex sociological tests and determine the criteria for being a haredi. So, what was it that bothered me so much about Greenfield and made me label her a stranger to the haredi camp?
Well, I could live with the fact that she owns a dog as a pet, although with us fish and birds are more popular. I can also forgive the television set at her house. Many good haredim own one, although I will never let one cross my doorstep. I can live with her definition of the Zaka organization as "necrophilia lovers." Why be petty? Even her impression that haredi women are "ignorant creatures, baby-making machines" is insulting but not impossible to swallow.
But neither I nor you, Tzvia, can sanction, in the name of God almighty, the desecration of the Shabbat, bringing illegitimate children into the world, homosexuality, abortions, and any other bone of contention between believers and heretics. Issues that are an inseparable part of your party's platform, and let me give you a little hint, Tzvia – they don't quite adhere to the Torah's views on these matters.
That is, to put it mildly, an understatement. From the examples brought in the article, it seems obvious that Greenfield's views on Judaism have become distorted through a hateful lens. To call Zaka members necrophiliacs may be accurate, but that's like calling surgeons knife-happy. Both focus on a characteristic of the group, remove it from its context and condemn it. Hardly a fair assessment amongst thinking people.
Perhaps Ms. Greenfield has had a falling out with her community but not her culture. She wishes to remain Chareidi but can't stand actual Chareidim. Perhaps she has concluded that it is impossible to effect change from within the community. After all, UTJ would never allow her on their election list. Again, this is not exceptional. My best friend in Israel is just such a person. However, although the Arabs like to say "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", we don't subscribe to such simplistic thinking. Our bloody history provides too much evidence of the incorrectness of that statement.
As Farkash notes, being Chareidi is a package deal. It includes accepting certain religious and political positions as part of the deal. Rejecting those positions costs you membership in the group.
If Ms. Greenfield has a problem with the Chareidi community she will not solve it by bringing in the enemy of her enemies. She will simply empower those enemies more and give them an unjustified hechsher for their anti-Jewish, anti-Israel views. Hardly worth what she might hope to accomplish.