Thursday, July 12, 2007

About the Slap

You've heard, I am sure, that Amnon Dehartuc, an Israeli civil servant, slapped a Haredi MK the other day. If you live in pious preceints, you've also heard, I am sure, that the attack was just the latest iteration of secular hatred for all things holy. (or as dear old Ed said yesterday when he sent me a link to the article "see for yoursekf the hatred that the secular has for us [sic].")

But is that really the case? Of course not.

For the last ten years, its been Amnon Dehartuc's job to be something of a jerk. As the man in charge of verifying the legality of all budget allocations, he has been responsible for making sure that every organization that receives government money confirms to certain requirements and criteria. This means he spends a lot of time saying, "no."

In the past, Jpost says:
"...he has blocked allocations to the HaBimah national theater, a symbol of secular culture, claiming that a "criterion" had illegally been tailored for its benefit. Over the last few months he has blocked funding for the Joint Conversion Institute, an organization that is anathema to the haredi community since it includes in its faculty Reform and Conservative teachers. Last year he threatened to cancel allocations to one of the most cherished institutes of the national religious community, to which he himself belongs, the pre-army academies, for the lack of proper budgetary requirements. "
And, on similar legal grounds, he has interfered with the funding of Haredi yeshivot, too.

For this, Jpost continues, Dehartuc has suffered constant vilification. Haredi newspapers call him Pharaoh, Haman and Antiokhus. Though, he's a graduate of the Hesder system, among Haredim its taken as an article of faith that Dehartuc hates Jews and Judaism. He's often cursed and insulted to his face. Finally, earlier this week, MK Yaakov Cohen delivered the ultimate slur, and said, that for doing his thankless job diligently, sincerely and honestly, Dehartuc was "worse then the Germans."

And you know what? If it had been me, I might have slapped him, too.

[PS: Any of you who are certain that this episode "proves" that Israelis are racist, haters of Haredim are welcome to explain why Dehartuc was arrested and banned from ever again entering the Knesset.]

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