Haaretz, Aug 24, 2017


For Haredim, coexistence actually means forcing the other side to adopt their way of life. It’s never a case of ultra-Orthodox allowing people who aren’t part of their community to go on pursuing their life as usual. The few secular people who still live in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood (which on Barkat’s map is intended to be Haredi, although when it was built, after 1967, was anticipated to be a totally secular area) have already become habituated to shutting off their radios and televisions on Shabbat, and getting around on foot and not by car. Their behavior isn’t motivated by consideration for beliefs they don’t hold. The motivation is fear. Because spitting, cursing and stone throwing are not considered desecration of the Sabbath.

[...] What’s my point, then? It’s that Barkat is not the one who divided Jerusalem. As a mayor who was elected to a second term partly with the aid of wheeling and dealing with part of the Haredi group community, he’s obliged to provide classrooms for the Haredi pupils, whose number is multiplying rapidly, at a far higher rate than that of secular schoolchildren. The problem isn’t Barkat, the problem is that when ultra-Orthodox move into Zionist neighborhoods, they set out to transform their character.

It’s not that Barkat lost. It’s that the Haredim won.