Pity poor Rav Dov Lipman. All the guy wants to do is improve the lot of his fellow Chareidim. He's young, earnest, honest and hard-working, full of good ideas and eager to improve his community's lot.
And what's his reward? Villification, slander, lies and public attacks. And all of that from a community which claims to be the embodiment of holiness in the world, the ideal that God desires from all of us.
He's not alone, either. As the wise RYGB has noted, it seems that anyone who questions the Chareidi party line in Israel is immediately lumped in with such historical figures as Hitler, y"sh, Stalin, y"sh, and Chiemlnitski, enemies of the Jewish people, Torah and possibly even God. This seems to have been the fate of one Barry Jacobson who also dared not tow the official line in public. Even Rav Jonathan Sacks is not immune from the Agudah's attack dogs, especially after his recent speech in which he gave his perspective of what's ailing Chareidism today.
As the pressure ramps up on the community in the face of the Israeli government's determination to integrate them partially into society the response has become even more fanatic. One report out of Israel suggests that they want to make it illegal to not have Chareidi parties in the government. Another report states that it is now sina qua non that Chareidim should not have to work but instead be supported by the State while they learn full time. Therefore the Israeli government is going again this "natural law" in its efforts to extend the draft to them.
And need I mention the debacle over the Women of the Wall yesterday in which thousands of supposedly God-fearing Jews worked together to create a tremendous chilul HaShem in public?
How does one even respond to all this idiocy?
One thing is certain: rational conversation with the leadership and its representatives is a waste of time. These folks live in a completely different reality from the rest of us. We see that Israel survives both due to the physical and the mystical. Yes, Torah study is a positive factor that guarantees the survival of the Jewish people and the State but the army is another important factor that can't be dismissed. For these folks, however, it can be. All the physical efforts, all the important work done to keep the borders secure are meaningless to them because in their world it's only Torah study that matters.
What if you try to point out there's lots of non-Chareidim out learning Torah while serving in the army? The response is that it's only their learning that counts just like it's only their Gedolim who are real Gedolim.
In short, you can't reason with them. Trying to refute their arguments is a waste of time because the principles of rational debate do not override their beliefs. Tell them that staging a riot at the Kotel is a terrible thing and they will tell you that they do not care about what the world thinks, only God. The idea that God Himself might not be onside with their plans simply will not occur to them. It is axiomatic that He is.
So what's left? As hokey as it might sound: self-reflection. We on the outside also have principles and beliefs. Are we being true to ours? As mightily as the Chareidim fight against the draft because they truly believe theirs is the good fight do we also have that same sense of security? Are we trying to create a Jewish nation in which burdens are equally shared or are we out to get the Chareidim? Are we opposing a society of "learn, don't earn" because we really believe that it is not the Torah way or is it because we simply don't see any value to learning like they do?
This is the important lesson of all the hyperbole coming out of the Chareidi PR machine. It is a challenge to us on the outside. We need to be as focused and as principled as they are so that we can stand firm in our beliefs.