Over the last few months one trigger for the ongoing Chareidi rioting in Israel has been grave desecration. First it was over a group of non-Jewish graves in Ashkelon, now it's over another non-Jewish bunch in Yafo. Not that their non-Jewish nature seems to matter. The askanim running the show have decided that they're Jewish despite evidence to the contrary and have created social instability to fight against the perceived desecration they say is occuring.
Now the "gedolei Yisrael" have entered the fray with a letter supporting the askanim and their riotous efforts:
“We were deeply shocked to hear about the terrible news, which rends the heart of every Jew, regarding the desecration and disruption of the age-old Jewish graves at the ancient cemetery in the city of Yaffo, near the ancient cemetery where gedolei Yisroel waged a stiff battle 15 years ago to prevent its desecration. Talmidei chachomim who toil in Torah study are kept from protesting at the site using brutal means and thrown into jail. Woe are we that this has befallen in our day and age, and woe are the ears that hear of such events.
“As is well known, in past times in the bitter and difficult diasporas, when the enemies of the Jewish people imposed decrees upon us, the entire nation was deeply disturbed and stood unflinchingly, laying forth their prayers and supplications to Our Father in Heaven to cancel the decree. Meanwhile, in our generation, due to our many sins, certain figures have audaciously and unthinkingly desecrated these graves, Rachmono litzlan.”
Maranan verabbonon are warning the public not to lend a hand to this grave transgression in any way. “Therefore, we hereby give notice that according to the Torah this is absolutely forbidden, and nobody may lay a hand on this cemetery to excavate or remove bones. And no Jew is permitted to lend a hand or assist in this grave transgression in any manner.
“And we express our dismay and forceful objection to this terrible crime.”
One wonders: what do these Rabbonim know? As I've noted before, we often assume that all folks nowadays have access to unlimited sources of news from all points of view. When it comes to the leadership of the Chareidi community this is completely untrue. These great scholars seem to be completely reliant on their askanim for news of the outside world.
Do they know these graves have been examined and found to be non-Jewish? Do they know the effects the ongoing rioting is having on people's image of the Torah-observant community? Or have they simply been told "Oh those terrible chilonim are digging up Jewish graves and can't you say something to protest"?
And if that's how things operate, how reliable can any of their statements (outside of halachic p'sak) be?