“It is permissible to temporarily pretend not to be a Torah-observant Jew so that one may speak his or her mind without facing trial by media for incitement.”
Har Bracha, December 26 – Jewish religious leaders in Israel have begun counseling their followers to disguise themselves as non-religious if engaging in rhetoric that can be construed as calling for violence or harm, as law enforcement and the left-leaning press will more likely ignore it under such circumstances.
Rabbis associated with the National Religious movement and others whose philosophy places them to the right of the assumed political mainstream issued guidelines this week for those who feel compelled to give voice to their conscience but fear arrest for incitement to violence against the liberal establishment, Arabs, the press, the cultural elite, or the court system. Citing the reticence with which the media treat analogous rhetoric by those who are not religious Jews, the rabbis expressed willingness to condone removal or concealment of the typical visual indicators of religious observance in the context of such statements or displays.
“We understand that identity represents a powerful force in our social and political interactions,” read a statement from the rabbinic faculty of a yeshiva in this hilltop community near Nablus. “Under normal circumstances we would be loath to suggest hiding or denying one’s loyalty to Torah and the Torah way of life. However, since the values of justice and rebuking one’s fellows who have gone astray hold great importance, as well, in our considered opinion it is permissible to temporarily pretend not to be a Torah-observant Jew so that one may speak his or her mind without facing trial by media for incitement.”
Several days of deliberations preceded the pronouncement, and at least one observer expressed willingness to extend the permitted actions to include dressing as a Muslim, noting that officials often turn a blind eye toward rampant anti-Jewish incitement in that community. However, the others present disagreed, arguing that such an approach would prove counterproductive, as Zionist or anti-terrorist voices in Israel’s Arab sector receive just as scant attention or wanton mischaracterization as their analogs among Jewish Israelis.
“As a rule of thumb, follow the following:” the statement concluded. “If you could carry around a scale model of a guillotine the way you look and have the mainstream media deem it unworthy of examination, you’re fine.”
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