It's a good thing the Chareidi community continues to fail to live up to its self-proclaimed status as the true expression of Torah observance today. If they ever started succeeding, Rav Avi Shafran might actually not having something to write about for a change.
From the man who denied that spousal and child abuse of any significance exists in the frum community, who holds that the Rubashkins are really decent guys who have been unfairly smeared, who thinks a former African dictator makes a splendid candidate for conversion to Judaism while tens of thousands of well-meaning Israelis don't, and who thinks that Bernie Madoff is a better man than an airline pilot who saved hundreds of lives, we now have the following statement of moral relativism:
And so, when thousands of Iranians poured into Tehran’s streets in protest of what they saw as a fraudulent presidential election, the press emphasis was not on the protesters who threw rocks, set trash bins aflame and vandalized public property. The focus, rightly, was on the bulk of the crowd, peaceful protesters of what they believed to be a fraudulent election.
When tens of thousands of haredim, though, demonstrated in reaction to a decision by the Jerusalem municipality to open a public parking lot on the Jewish Sabbath, increasing traffic in the heart of the Holy City and disturbing the peacefulness of the day of rest, the main coverage was not of the overwhelming mass of the crowd, peacefully standing up for the sanctity of the Sabbath – but rather of the tiny fraction of the crowd that… threw rocks, set trash bins aflame and vandalized public property.
Get it? To Rav Shafran there is no difference between the Chareidi public in Yerushalayim under a democratically elected government and the long-suffering victims of the Iranian revolution under a bunch of murderous thugs. It's really all the same thing!
Never mind that the hospital they were protesting against was trying to protect a child from an abusive mothe whose acts were caught on film. For Rav Shafran, she's really the innocent victim in a horrible power play by nasssssty secular authorities:
The hospital video footage, moreover, that authorities said showed the mother removing the child’s feeding tube 20 times has yet, at least at this writing, to be released. And why did the hospital not act after the first tube removal? Or the tenth?
Why, further, if the woman is in fact mentally ill, was a simple restraining order not obtained, barring her from contact with the child? Why did the police choose instead to slap handcuffs on the five-months pregnant woman in public (and in front of a summoned press) and place her in a jail cell (with an accused spouse-killer, an Arab woman, as a cellmate)?
None of us can know with certainty at this point the answers to those questions – or whether the woman at issue is a would-be murderess, a sufferer of mental illness or a caring mother wrongly accused.
Right. So the hospital acted cautiously to avoid a legal problem later on and for Rav Shafran it's proof of... what? Who cares if it was the tenth or the first time she had removed the tube? Isn't once enough? Wouldn't a decent person ask: Why didn't they do it after the first time? What were they waiting for?
And while he remains clueless as to the behaviour of the police, perhaps I can enlighten him. There is a Jewish value that transcends divisions within our people. Religious or non-religious, traditional or modern, there is something that almost every real Jew feels and that is the supreme value of the life of our children. No other people worries so much about their children. No other people are willing to protect them from any danger possible. No other people places so much values in their happiness. This isn't written anywhere in the Gemara or Shulchan Aruch but it doesn't have to be. It just is.
So imagine Israeli authorities, who have a little more Jewish feeling than their Chareidi antogonists generally give them credit for, seeing a child suffering? Imagine how they must have reacted to discover that the child's community was not only denying the suffering but demanding that the child be returned to the same dangerous environment? Imagine what must have gone through their minds when this same community which preaches its purity in Torah threatened violence against the hospital for trying to protect the child?
Do you think only Chareidim get upset about things?
Rav Shafran has scraped the bottom of the barrel before. With this column he is licking its underside. Pass the barf bag.