Our “Open Call” to readers asking for suggestions and opinions on Israel’s foreign policy has proved that many in the Jewish community have definite opinions and views on Israel and how it relates to its neighbors. But what about how Israel relates to itself? As many have opined, even if Israel were to succeed in solving it’s Arab-Israeli conflict, it would only then have to truly face the Israeli-Israeli conflict.
This past week’s IJN reported on the establishment of new grocery store , aiming to fulfill the needs of the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel. Concomitant to this news report was an IJN editorial explaining that this new store emerged from an argument between the owner of Shefa Shuk, an exisiting grocery chain, and a group of Orthodox Jews, who demanded the shop owner close all branches of his store on Shabbat – even those not located in religious areas. From a business perspective, an opportunity clearly arose for an entrepreneur to open a new shop – one that complies with the demands of the charedi community. (It is however, unclear how once store could appeal to the charedi community across the board, as said community is known for sectarianism and dizzyingly variant standards.)
While the editorial tries to portray the controversy from an emotive perspective – looking at Shabbat tranquility – one of our readers certainly didn’t interpret it that way. In a comment posted on the editorial, M Gold says, “This boycott stinks of intolerance of the highest order…This case is a perfect of example of why the religious community in Israel garners so much animosity from its neighbors.”
Is M Gold correct, does the charedi community have too strong a hold on decision-making in Israel? Or was this a simple business decision, a case of the “customer is always right?”