A recent article on Ynet provide an interesting perspective to the current struggles taking place within the Chareidi community.
It points out something obvious that those who hate Ultraorthodoxy are often loathe to admit. The public face of the Chareidi sector in Israel as well as its basic religious structure is run by a group of hateful radicals who presume that their agenda is the true, pure Torah agenda and are willing to use all their compatriots as ammunition is their various righteous struggles:
The majority is trapped in the hands of the bored radicals on the streets who have way too much free time. The overwhelming majority of haredim are also opposed to gender-segregated bus routes, but who can stand up to a "holy struggle" – that is, radicalism that portrays itself as an attempt to make the community even holier.
Does the average haredi even understand why garbage bins need to be burned? Does the average haredi support this idiotic form of protest? Does he understand how the burning of a garbage bin advances any cause? Does it make any difference, with the exception of making the lives of municipal workers and taxpayers miserable?
The haredi community is a sane and captive sector. An overwhelming majority of Shas voters are in favor of the state and of the army. Most Agudath Israel voters oppose the anti-Intel protests. The problem is that those who endorse the protests are stronger and louder.
As I have noted a few times before, bad news makes the front page. Good news gets ignored. Murphy's law also teaches us that "he who shouts loudest has the floor". It is indisputable that the average Chareidi is a decent person who is a victim of the dysfunctional askanim who have perverted the community with their Talibanistic version of Judaism.
Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this huge problem. One of the structural institutions that askanim rely on to maintain their power is the concept of Gadol-worship. Never mind that most of these Gedolim are living insular lives and haven't a clue about how warped their followers have become. To question the askanim is to question the Gedolim. To question the Gedolim is to be kofer b'ikkar. In this way dissent has been neatly shelved.
And even if someone was willing to challenge the order of things - let's say a Gadol himself wants to take to the airwaves and shout "Enough!" - there's always the threat of violence to keep the dissenters in line, something which we have seen too much of lately.
Writing in Orot HaKodesh, Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, zt"l notes that an absence of proper yiras Shamayim leads to a fear of thinking. This is certainly evident in the way simplistic, dogmatic views have become di rigeur as the askanim redefine Judaism by introducing one new ikkar emunah after another in order to prevent their subjects from thinking for themselves.
The only bright light is that a situation like this is, according to Rav Kook, necessary for the process leading to the coming of Moshiach. Maybe we will see, in the coming few years (decades?) that all this suffering heaped on helpless people will have been for an important reason.