Monday, October 2, 2023 -
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Israel – problems in and out

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?”

2 thoughts on “Israel – problems in and out

  1. Ben M.

    OK. If M Gold is opposed to all boycotts, I can understand why he opposes the religious boycott of non-Sabbath observant stores. But if he opposes some boycotts and favors others, I fail to see his logic. He says, “This boycott stinks of intolerance of the highest order.” Intolerance of what? Of a business that wishes to make money off of one community, but also wishes to dis that community’s values? And just how would M Gold guarantee those beautiful Shabbats in Jerusalem? It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world for a reason, and that reason is that people care enough about Shabbat to exercise their influence through the power of their pocketbook. Does M Gold care??

  2. M Gold

    Of course I agree in theory that boycotts are an acceptable means of protest, but that doesn’t mean one has to support every boycott that takes place. I call this “intolerance” because as far as I understand these opening hours did not affect these individuals as all. The owner had a different chain of stores – under a different name – in Tel Aviv that remained open on Shabbat. My question: Why can people not accept that others have a different way of life and just get on with their own?


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