The facade of Israel is cracking

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http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/01/the-facade-of-israel-is-cracking/

For many more years than any intelligent person would want to count, Israel was the sacred cow of the United States. From its violent, bloody, genocidal inception that involved the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians, and the murder of another 10,000, right through to the illegal, immoral occupation of the West Bank and blockade (aka occupation) of the Gaza Strip, Israel, in the view of U.S. governance and politics, could do no wrong. Anyone who dared to criticize Israel’s many crimes was accused of anti-Semitism; as Dr. Norman Finkelstein said, “whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle, its apologists sound the alarm that a ‘new anti-Semitism’ is upon us”. In the past, if a Jew, such as Dr. Finkelstein, was critical of Israel, Zionists raised the cry that he was ‘a self-hating Jew’, and U.S. politicians bought that ridiculous line. As a result, Israel became the beneficiary of the bulk of U.S. foreign aid, and has relied on the U.S. for years for protection from international accountability for its crimes, with the U.S always happy to veto any United Nations resolution condemning Israeli violations of human rights and international law.

Oh, but what a difference a 51-day, genocidal onslaught can make! This, of course, refers to the invasion and carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014. Israel had previously been able to ‘mow the grass’, as it refers to these periodic bombing episodes, with complete impunity. But thanks largely to social media, the world stopped believing that vulnerable, little Israel, with the fourth largest military in the world, and supplied and backed by the largest, was in grave danger from Big Bad Palestine, a nation it illegally occupies, and which has no army, navy or air force. Ongoing settlement activity by apartheid Israel, along with Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration that Palestinians would never have an independent state while he is prime murderer, and a conflicted relationship with his favorite check-writer, President Barack Obama, seem to have soured the whole thing for Israel.

How is this manifesting itself? Well, in a variety of ways, actually. Mr. Obama has ordered that goods produced by Israel in the occupied West Bank must clearly state that that is the case; they cannot say ‘manufactured in Israel’ anymore. This has brought down the wrath of Zionists everywhere.

Against Israeli wishes, the U.S., along with European Union, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany entered into an agreement with Iran that regulates that nation’s nuclear program. Various Israeli lobbies spent around $40 million opposing this agreement, to no avail. And Mr. Netanyahu has been saying for decades that Iran is only months away from nuclear weapons. Time must be measured somewhat differently in Israel than it is in the rest of the world.

Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate hopeful Bernie Sanders did the unthinkable this year: he skipped the AIPAC (Apartheid Israel Political Affairs Committee) convention this month. He did, however, send a letter, in which he added insult to injury, when he not only recognized the existence of the Palestinians, but also acknowledged that they have legitimate rights to self-determination! Absolutely inconceivable for a U.S. politician!

But it gets worse (for Zionists). On March 29, the other senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry (aka, Israel’s whipping boy), signed by himself and ten members of the House of Representatives, requesting that the State Department investigate possible human rights violations by Israel, saying that if Israel is so guilty, U.S. law requires that aid to it is adjusted. Such aid to any country is conditioned upon that country’s adherence to international law in the area of human rights, and Mr. Leahy has received credible word (which the rest of the world has been privy to for years), that Israel is, perhaps, in violation.

The international scene is not boding much better for Israel. The European Union, like the U.S. (and leading the way, of course; one must not expect leadership in human rights to emanate from the United States), now requires that Israeli products from the occupied West Bank be clearly stated as such. And much to the horror of FOX News, the United Nations named Israel the top human rights violator in the world, due to its killing of women and children in Palestine.

Now, the news is not all bad. It is likely that either wind-bag businessman Donald Trump, or Miss 1% herself, Hillary Clinton, will be the next president of the United States, and there is no Israeli hoop through which they are not willing to jump. Zionists were treated to more butt-kissing at the AIPAC convention from each of the candidates, with desperate and despicable Senator Ted Cruz (R – TX) going so far as to deny the very existence of Palestine! Such a proclamation may have soothed the hurt their feelings sustained by the words of Mr. Sanders. But outside the convention hall, pro-Palestinian demonstrators (including this writer), detracted perhaps just a little bit from the fun of the Zionist bacchanal going on inside the convention hall.

And let us not lose sight of the fact that the U.S. is fomenting all kinds of wars and uprisings in the Middle East, mainly to prevent any other country from challenging Israeli superiority in the area. This is an old model; as early as 1961, the U.S. opposed its previously hand-picked Iraqi leader, Abdel Karim Kassem, when he began to build up armaments, and talked of challenging Israeli dominance. So, since such a thing was unheard of, he was overthrown by the CIA, which installed his successor, one Saddam Hussein. We won’t consider now how well that all turned out.

But it does seem that poor little Israel is finally beginning to get the short end of the stick with which it has been bashing Palestinians for decades. Yes, a new president will pucker-up sufficiently, but the narrative has changed; things cannot return to the status quo once that obnoxious concept – facts – that the U.S. has no use for, has been let out of the box. What will it mean? It is too early to tell how it will play out; AIPAC will do everything in its considerable power to assure that Congress remains firmly under its thumb. But as it unsuccessfully unleashed its power to defeat the Iran nuclear agreement, even sending Mr. Netanyahu to address Congress about it, it will be unsuccessful in seizing back the narrative.

So we can all expect to hear more cries of anti-Semitism, anytime anyone condemns Israeli crimes. We will hear more about how the Israeli army is the most moral in the world, as more and more videos show Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed and unthreatening men, women and children. We will hear how Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, as its apartheid laws cause untold suffering for non-Israelis, and non-Jewish Israelis.

But the light is now clearly visible at the end of the tunnel; the train of justice is barreling down, and Israel will only be a minor impediment, slowing it, possibly, but unable to stop it. When it reaches the station, Palestine will be free.

———

it is cracking in some ways..but in other ways its as strong as ever..

“We will hear how Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East”

lol..

401

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~ by seeker401 on April 11, 2016.

7 Responses to “The facade of Israel is cracking”

  1. “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.

    Pay her back even as she has paid, and [i]give back to her double according to her deeds.

    “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived [l]sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’

    “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more … Rev 18

    THE DAYS OF VENGANCE

    The lament of each group ends with the words, Woe, woe, the Great City! This expression would turn out to have great significance for those living in Jerusalem in the years before and during the Tribulation. Josephus tells of a Jewish prophet (interestingly, his name was Jesus/Joshua) in the Last Days, whose cry of “Woe, woe!” became a familiar aspect of life in the City. A portent still more alarming had appeared four years before the war at a time when profound peace and prosperity still prevailed in the city [i. e., A.D. 62]. One Jesus, the son of Ananias, an uncouth peasant, came to the feast at which every Jew is expected to put up a tabernacle for God [i.e., the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkoth]; as he stood in the Temple courts he suddenly began to cry out: “A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the Four Winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the Sanctuary, a voice against the Bridegroom and the Bride, a voice against the whole people!” Day and night he uttered this cry as he went about all the alleys.

    Some of the leading citizens, seriously annoyed at these ominous pronouncements, laid hold of the man and beat him savagely. But he, without uttering a word in his own defense, or for the private information of those who were beating him, persisted in uttering the same warnings as before. Thereupon, the magistrates, rightly concluding that some supernatural impulse was responsible for his behavior, took him before the Roman governor. There, although flayed to the bone with scourges, he neither begged for mercy nor shed a tear, but, raising his voice to a most mournful cry, answered every stroke with “Woe, woe, to Jerusalem!” When Albinus, the governor, asked him who he was and whence he came and why he uttered these cries, he made no reply whatever, but endlessly repeated his dirge over the city, until Albinus released him because he judged him insane. Throughout this time, until the war broke out, he never approached another citizen nor was he seen talking to any, but daily, like a prayer that he had memorized, he recited his lament: “Woe, woe, to Jerusalem!” He never cursed any of those who beat him from day to day, nor did he thank those who gave him food; his only response to anyone was that melancholy prediction. His voice was heard most of all at the festivals. So, for seven years and five months he continued his wail, his voice as strong as ever and his vigor unabated, till, during the siege, after seeing the fulfillment of his foreboding, he was silenced. He was going his rounds, shouting in penetrating tones from the wall, “Woe, woe, once more to the city, and the people and the Temple!” Then, when he added a last word – “And woe to me also!” – a stone hurled from the ballista struck him, killing him on the spot. Thus, with those same forebodings still upon his lips, he met his end.

  2. Introducing the BDS Movement
    https://bdsmovement.net/bdsintro

    What should I boycott?
    https://bdsmovement.net/make-an-impact

  3. Is America cursed because of Israel?

    https://biblicisminstitute.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/is-america-cursed/

  4. Passionate article here about the struggles of the Haredim – antizionist -jewish communities and the State of Israel that oppresses them…

    “If there were a Palestinian state, would it be simpler to live here?
    “For the Haredim? Of course. And by the way, by Haredim, I mean us, not Gur and not Vizhnitz [two large Hasidic dynasties]. Just so you’ll understand the difference: They vote in the elections and take money from the state, they are part of the state. It’s only when it comes to the army that they say: Let secular folk be killed. We, the Eda Haredit, number 10,000 families. We don’t take anything from the state. ”

    “Is the state the enemy for you?
    “Obviously. No doubt of it. They can’t bear to see us here. It pains them that we’re not part of them, so they try to force us in all kinds of ways. But they won’t succeed.””

    (I post the story entirely, since it’s premium & tricky to retrieve)

    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.788708

    Yoelish Kraus with some of his 16 children at home in Jerusalem. ‘He is like the king of the family,’ says his wife. Michal Fattal
    Anti-Zionist Hasidic Father of 16 Pays Hefty Price for Rejecting Israel
    The ironic fate of an ultra-Orthodox vegetarian who ran a Jerusalem community slaughterhouse
    By Shany Littman May 15, 2017
     

    At the beginning of the week in which Israel celebrated its independence, Yoelish Kraus was set, for the first time in his life, to lose the extreme freedom he’s pursued all his life. He was about to start serving a five-month prison term. Kraus, who in the past was dubbed by the media the “operations officer of the Eda Haredit” ultra-Orthodox communal organization in Jerusalem – a nonexistent position from which he disassociated himself – was convicted of failing to report the revenues from a slaughterhouse he ran in Jerusalem. In addition to being ordered to pay 250,000 shekels (about $70,000) in arrears, he was sentenced to a short prison term. He was also convicted of not having an Israeli ID card.
    A few days before his scheduled incarceration date, Kraus looked a bit worried, but also somewhat bemused at the looming change of atmosphere. There’s never a dull moment in his small apartment – two connecting rooms and a mini-kitchen – in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood. Doors open and shut as the 16 children of Kraus and his wife, Rachel, ranging in age from 3 to 22, come and go, along with visitors from here and there: neighbors, local children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law and two or three toddler grandchildren – Kraus doesn’t exactly remember whose. In comparison to the constant melee of home, prison will be a vacation, Kraus says, and will give him time to write his autobiography. Since 2011, when the slaughterhouse ceased operations, Kraus has worked long daily shifts in a catering firm, as a vegetable peeler and slicer, in order to provide for the large family that he and Rachel are raising. He’s 44, she’s 43.
    According to Kraus, the local abattoir had existed for a century, but lacked the necessary permits. “I tried to get the permits, and in the meantime slaughtering went on once or twice a week for the community,” he explains. Under the rules of kashrut as set forth in the Shulhan Arukh, the 16th-century code of Jewish law, a fowl slated for slaughter must be capable of walking about two meters, as proof that it is healthy and fit for human consumption. Sticklers about Jewish law are concerned that the big plants, where hundreds of birds are slaughtered hourly, have no time to ensure that the birds meet this athletic criterion. Thus, the community needs its own slaughterhouse. By the way, Kraus himself is a vegetarian.
    “One day the tax authorities, the police and municipal inspectors showed up, demolished the slaughterhouse and did investigations,” Kraus relates. “After a five-year trial I [was convicted of a] failure to report. It doesn’t matter whether you have a profit or a loss – not reporting is an offense.” He was ordered to pay 100,000 shekels (about $28,000) in back taxes and 80,000 shekels to the VAT authorities, and was slapped with a 50,000-shekel fine for not reporting income. He was also sentenced to five months in prison.
    Why didn’t you file tax reports?
    “The slaughterhouse didn’t belong to me, it was run by a company. After the municipality told them to stop, I went on operating the place: I thought I would sort out the permit, and then it would revert to the previous owner. Getting a permit is very tough bureaucratically. There was no intent to evade taxes. The rent and the salary to the slaughterer cost me more than what people paid [for the service], and many people didn’t pay at all, because they don’t have money. Our ideology is not to not pay the state, it’s not to take from the state. I don’t want favors from them.”

    The court agreed to defer the start of Kraus’ prison term to allow him to appear before a committee that decides who is eligible to be incarcerated in the prison’s Orthodox ward. He started his term on May 10. He will pay the money he owes in installments, which he hopes he will be able to meet. “I don’t think that anyone in the country has gotten a sentence like mine – both the fine and prison. After all, they didn’t say I evaded taxes, only that I didn’t report. There’s a singer who evaded tax of 2.5 million shekels and was sentenced to four months of community service. [He’s referring to Eyal Golan.] The judge wrote that it’s because he has three children – and I, who have 16 children, get a punishment.”
    By “our ideology,” Kraus is referring to the Haredi sects that do not recognize Israel’s existence and oppose the state and Zionism. Thus, Kraus and his wife do not have ID cards – in fact, he doesn’t even have an ID number, due to a bureaucratic snafu shortly after his birth. After being charged with not being in possession of an ID card, Kraus says, he tried to obtain one, but unsuccessfully, as the Interior Ministry has no documentation attesting to his identity. Kraus says he filed an administrative petition to the District Court to obtain an ID card, “but for 10 months they’ve rejected the request. On the one hand I’m charged with not having an ID card, and on the other hand they don’t give me one.”

    Riots in Jerusalem following the police raid on Kraus’ slaughterhouse in 2011. Tomer Appelbaum
    According to Kraus, he’s never needed the document. “My father didn’t want me to get an ID card,” he says. (All Israelis must carry an ID card from the age of 16.) “He was afraid that I would get a driving license, that I would flee the country. I’m also an only son – I have one older sister. My father said: One misfit is enough, I won’t have more. I said I would have 22 children, so maybe one would come out okay. In the meantime I have 16, and there’s more where they came from.”
    Unmarried mother
    Kraus is a member of the Jerusalem-based, Hasidic and anti-Zionist Toldos Aharon sect. He and his wife decline to accept National Insurance Institute monthly child allowances (which could be of significant assistance, considering that they have 13 children of eligible age) and do not belong to a health maintenance organization. (Nevertheless, income tax, NII and health insurance payments are mandatorily deducted from Kraus’ salary in the catering service.)
    What do you do when a child is sick?
    Kraus: “Statistics show that people who don’t use HMOs are sick a lot less. If we have an occasional need, we go to a private doctor. All the children were born in Bikur Holim Hospital [in Jerusalem], and we paid privately each time. Each birth cost between 9,000 and 12,000 shekels.”
    If you pay anyway, why not use what the state offers?
    “If I take money, I’ll be theirs. If I’m theirs, tomorrow they’ll tell me to take [the Education Ministry’s] core subjects, and I’ll have to, because I’m taking money from them. There’s no such thing as them giving to you and not asking for something in return.”
    – Skip

    Yoelish and Rachel (nee Epstein) are married according to halakha but are not registered in the Chief Rabbinate. As a result, all 16 of their children are registered as having an unmarried mother. The children have ID numbers (at least, 13 of them do, because the bureaucracy somehow overlooked three of them), but they are not registered under their names in the Interior Ministry. When the boys receive a first army call-up notice – which they ignore – they are noted as “son of Bat Miriam Epstein.” (Miriam Epstein is Rachel’s mother.)
    Bat Miriam Epstein – that is, Rachel – Kraus’ wife, a pleasant, sociable, charismatic woman, is a significant figure in the neighborhood. During our conversation, people arrived with various requests and the phone rang nonstop. “This is an open home, flowing,” Rachel says.

    Rachel Kraus with some of her children. Michal Fattal
    The children, too, enjoy the action, occasionally listening in on conversations and laughing at their father’s jokes. They go rocketing from the house when they hear a rumor that a police van has dared to enter the neighborhood, because of a neighbors’ quarrel. The adolescents want to throw stones, the little ones want to shout “Nazis!” at the officers. The girls return amused: one of the officers was a policewoman, who was branded a “pritzeh” – Yiddish for slut.
    Rachel, like her husband, is from Mea She’arim, a large Haredi quarter in central Jerusalem. Her family belongs to Neturei Karta, another anti-Zionist sect. She used to run a day nursery, but at the moment doesn’t work outside the home, as she is caring for her aged parents, who live nearby. She’s the youngest of four children. Her father, who grew up in Argentina, ran a yeshiva in Jerusalem that Yoelish attended, after he crossed the lines from the Hasidic world to an institution associated with Neturei Karta, whose origins lie in non-Hasidic Lithuanian Jewry. Hence the match between Yoelish and Rachel.
    Is it usual for Hasidim to marry Lithuanian Jews?
    Rachel: “It happens, though not very often, because usually Hasidim take genuine Hasidim, even though Toldos Aharon and Neturei Karta have the same approach. Yoelish and I each took a little from the other. We are educating the children in institutions that don’t belong to Toldos Aharon, but whose customs are Hasidic. For example, Hanukkah candles are lit after sunset, like Hasidim – with Lithuanians it’s before sunset. But we don’t belong to a specific Hasidic dynasty such as Toldos Aharon, because Yoelish felt that we want to be more on a middle path.”
    The neighborhood here isn’t considered friendly to secular women, or in general. How is it that your house is open to everyone?
    Rachel: “We are Jews, we are hospitable to everyone. There are homes that are more closed, but if you knock at the door they’ll let you in, provided you’re dressed modestly. We don’t accept the state, we are against the idea of Zionism. But each person is distinctive. Every Jew is a soul created by the Lord. Every Jewish soul is a diamond. When Jew meets with Jew there is an inner closeness, a root or a bond. Only the burden of the exile caused the separation. Unity builds the Jewish people.”
    In contrast to Kraus, who was trying to be positive about his looming “vacation,” his wife and children were worried. They hung a note on the refrigerator reminding him not to forget to pray for the reversal of the judgment. “It struck us like a bolt from the blue,” Rachel says. “It’s a trauma for the children. They pray all day, make segulot [benevolent charms or rituals] and are preparing a thanksgiving meal [believing] it won’t happen. I tell them that if it happens, it’s all divinely ordained.
    “We do not manage the world, you have to look at the positive side – it’s not a hospital or an illness – but it will be very hard in every way. He is the head of the family. At night, when he comes home from work, the children gather around him. He is like the king of the family, especially as I’m at my parents’ home a lot. We will have to cope with it, especially because he’s not someone who leaves the house much. I don’t remember the last time he went to a wedding, for example.”
    Rachel also has concerns of a technical nature: Yoelish is so strict about kashrut that he doesn’t eat anything that’s not prepared at home. Rachel bakes bread for the family, and makes her own cheese. Things will be somewhat different in prison. “The prison rabbi said he would get him matzos,” Rachel says, to guarantee kashrut.
    Queen mother
    Though 16 children (9 boys and 7 girls, none of them twins) is not a neighborhood high – a nearby family has 21 children – it’s not something you see every day. “If someone imagines beforehand getting into such a project, it doesn’t look realistic,” Rachel says, referring to childbearing. “When I had my fifth child, I met a woman with 15 children. I asked her how you do it, it didn’t seem reasonable. She told me, ‘Don’t think. When you get to birth number 15, you won’t have to do anything anymore, everyone will be around you, you’ll be like a queen.’ I didn’t believe it. And now I look, and 16 children doesn’t seem like so many. We fulfill our task. It’s with the help of God. It’s not our powers. I don’t think that a mother who has fewer children has more strength or more time.”
    The children attend independent schools not funded by the state, and which are geared to the family’s ideology. According to Kraus, about 40,000 children in Israel attend similar institutions, the great majority of them in Jerusalem. No precise official data about them exist, but in 2015 the Jerusalem Municipality estimated that about 10,000 children in the city were attending these institutions. Core subjects such as math and English are not taught. The girls’ curriculum consists mainly of religious studies, including prayer and Shabbat precepts. There’s also a little arithmetic and basic geometry, Jewish history and geography, along with sewing, cooking and, for those who want, there’s a class in painting. Except for religious studies, teaching is in Yiddish.

    Yoelish Kraus with some of his 16 children at home in Jerusalem. Michal Fattal
    Rachel: “The purpose is to prepare for being a housewife. Afterward, many girls learn how to be teachers, but without a certificate. When they complete the 12th grade, many of them marry, and some become teachers or kindergarten teachers, or seamstresses who work at home. Or they might work a little outside the home. If a girl is interested in specific work, she learns it on her own.”
    It’s terrific being the mother of 16 children, she says, now that most of them are older. “One girl likes to do laundry more, and one likes to cook more, but they all do everything, they all want the house to run like clockwork. The mother looks down from above. I see who needs a break, and I give it. Mother has a special wisdom; extra intelligence was given to women. If I see that a child needs more attention, I take him with me when I go to my parents, to talk a little. That way I listen to them, hear their requests.”
    Rachel is proud of her children’s education. In fact, her eldest daughter, who was married half a year ago, rejected a candidate for a match because she heard he intended to take National Insurance allowances. “Sometimes the children are more determined than the parents, they think the parents are compromising,” she notes. “I myself would not have interfered over the NII thing, but Simcha insisted. It was also very satisfying for my father that I continued on his path. It’s in our blood. For me it’s more of a punishment to take than not to take.”
    Is it usual in your community not to use HMOs, or are you the exceptions?
    Rachel: “Many people today say that the HMOs are private, no longer state bodies. I couldn’t do it even if I wanted, because I don’t have an ID card. There’s an HMO doctor whom we see privately for 80 shekels [$22]. My parents don’t have an HMO, and they don’t get NII funds, so we look after them alone. We don’t rush to the hospital for every little thing. When you’re in an HMO, you go to the doctor and to hospitals more. Patients in hospitals are also neglected a lot, and at home everyone is around you. It’s also important for the children’s education – they see that granddad is not being dumped in an old-age home. He is respected, he is the head of the family.”
    Rachel Kraus doesn’t feel that their contrariness makes life harder – just the opposite, in fact. “We don’t have a bank account, and anyway we don’t have extra money to put into it. If I need a check for something, I take one from friends. For the installment payments to repay a debt, our son took out an ID card and we are doing it through his bank account. In a certain sense, it’s true that we look at many things from the side, but we are also in it and see things very well.”
    What does the Israeli condition look like from the side?
    “The state denies the Lord and his Torah. That hurts us very much.”
    Secular people feel that the state is becoming increasingly religious.
    “That does not solve the problem. Even if it were a Haredi state, having a state here would still be prohibited.”
    A scapegoat?

    Yoelish Kraus. Michal Fattal
    Surprisingly, the slaughterhouse case is only the second time Kraus has been arrested, even though he has led many violent struggles by the Haredi community on issues of religion and state. Kraus believes he was targeted in order to silence him, as he likes to give media interviews. His lawyer, Jonatan Kivel, from the Public Defenders’ Office, thinks the authorities are trying to make Kraus a scapegoat in order to deter others. “For example, the state refuses to issue him an ID card, claiming there’s no proof that he is Yoel Kraus, but they’re ready to imprison him under that name. That’s absurd.
    “Kraus was convicted of tax offenses,” he continues, “but the court found that he acted solely for ideological reasons and not for monetary gain. After he was acquitted in Magistrate’s Court of all aspects of fraud, and the court stated that his motives were ideological, the state prosecution naturally said that it’s a typical case of tax evasion by Haredim and Arabs.”
    A spokesperson for the Jerusalem district attorney’s office told Haaretz: “Yoel Kraus was convicted of failing to report income of 1.5 million shekels and sentenced to five months in prison and a fine. The court accepted the prosecution’s argument and found that Kraus and his partner systematically ignored the tax laws and the obligation to file reports. The two ran a slaughterhouse in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood without having a business permit, without keeping books properly and without reporting their revenues to the tax authorities. The Magistrate’s Court sentenced the accused to seven months in prison, and on appeal the District Court reduced it to five months and a fine, while reiterating the severity of the accused’s deeds.”
    Kraus’ only previous arrest occurred in 2009, in the wake of demonstrations held in Jerusalem over the episode of “the mother who starved her child.” The woman, a mother of five and also from Toldos Aharon, was accused of maltreating her toddler son, including disconnecting him from a feeding device in Hadassah Medical Center. The welfare authorities and psychiatrists found her to be a menace to her children. The children were removed from her custody and she was indicted. The Toldos Aharon community branded this a “blood libel” and launched fierce demonstrations that ended with several people injured and several dozen arrested. Kraus says he spend a night in custody because the police wanted to distance him from the demonstrations. The charges against him were dropped within a few hours.
    “They arrested me for one night, even though they knew it was not right. They were always looking for something, until they latched onto the slaughterhouse. Today no one from our communities talks to the media. At the time, I was doing well and I talked a lot.”
    Kraus views the case of the mother – who eventually agreed to a plea bargain and was not jailed – as a victory for the Eda Haredit. “It was a hard blow for Hadassah,” he says. “They’ve suffered since then, because people don’t go there anymore. Haredim hardly go – only if they have no other choice. When that mother was arrested, all I did was hang up a single announcement in the street. Everyone laughed at me. I wrote that everyone who had a complaint against Hadassah should send a fax. I received hundreds of letters. We printed them, and people started to see what the hospital was doing. And since then – you can laugh, but it’s true – I claim that life expectancy in Israel is rising. People started to ask what was being done to them in the hospital, they are more afraid and ask questions, and the doctors can’t do whatever they want anymore.”
    Are you involved in the current struggle against the draft for Haredim?
    Kraus: “That doesn’t interest me. I say that whoever takes money [from the state] and votes in the elections, should also do army service. That’s my personal opinion. I won’t demonstrate over that. Anyway, I’m not a figure anymore, I’m forgotten. I am not in the forefront of the struggle.”
    Do you miss it?
    “Yes. But the army doesn’t interest me, so I’m glad I’m not available for that.”
    If there were a Palestinian state, would it be simpler to live here?
    “For the Haredim? Of course. And by the way, by Haredim, I mean us, not Gur and not Vizhnitz [two large Hasidic dynasties]. Just so you’ll understand the difference: They vote in the elections and take money from the state, they are part of the state. It’s only when it comes to the army that they say: Let secular folk be killed. We, the Eda Haredit, number 10,000 families. We don’t take anything from the state. We had the issue with buses where men and women sit separately. The state said it didn’t want to fund that, so we did it ourselves. There was one [bus] line, from our areas. They removed all the buses from the road, they fined us. The state doesn’t let us live. A couple of weeks ago, they arrested 25 people for pedophilia and harassment. What came of it? Nothing. They were all released – maybe one was still held. They keep trying. The police need publicity and they look for all kinds of nonsense, because they know that no one will sue them. It’s very hard for Haredim to live here.”
    Despite his anarchism, Kraus contributes to the state in a sense, in ways he chooses carefully. For example, he donated his collection of 20,000 Haredi pashkevilim, or wall posters, to the National Library. “I have no problem giving,” Kraus notes. “The pashkevilim were here and no one was getting anything out of them and no research could be done on them. So I scanned the collection for the National Library. People call with questions and I instruct them on the phone where to look for what. There’s 50 years of for and against there. About demonstrations, graves, Shabbat, autopsies, daylight saving time and other issues – we boycotted Pepsi for sponsoring a Michael Jackson concert here. There were small struggles and major ones. Election posters: it’s interesting to read the notices of the previous election each time, to see what promises weren’t kept. I, of course, don’t vote.”
    Is the state the enemy for you?
    “Obviously. No doubt of it. They can’t bear to see us here. It pains them that we’re not part of them, so they try to force us in all kinds of ways. But they won’t succeed.”

    Yoelish Kraus with some of his 16 children at home in Jerusalem. ‘He is like the king of the family,’ says his wife. Michal Fattal

    Shany Littman
    Haaretz Contributor

    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.788708

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