For the second time this week, the FBI arrested Frum people in Lakewood, NJ in a federal and state crackdown on public assistance fraud in the Orthodox community.
On Monday, three couples were arrested. The FBI warned that the arrests were just the beginning of what appears to be multiple waves of arrests.
On Tuesday night, the FBI took another three couples into custody.
All are being charged with public assistance fraud including Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8, and other government assistance programs, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Of course, everyone is innocent until proven guilty – and calling people guilty isn’t the purpose of this op-ed.
Possibly as bad as the actual chillul hashem, and the actual crime, is how many people fail to look at the bigger picture here. Many are complaining that the FBI notified the media ahead of the arrests so they can make a “photo-op” out of it. Ignorance is an understatement, as this is what the FBI always does when there are multiple arrests, especially high-profile arrests. Did it ever dawn upon people that perhaps the purpose of the photo-ops are to warn others to stay clean and not break the law, or they too will end up with their photos splashed on the front covers of every newspaper?
In reality, it seems that the FBI has already accomplished whet they hoped to do by the exposure of the arrests. It has been reported that in the past two days, hundreds of Lakewood residents called township leaders asking how they can avoid arrest or get amnesty for past use of government programs which they aren’t legally able to take.
Ocean County Social Services received dozens of phone calls from people looking to cancel their public assistance or update their income information.
People may not be aware of this, but more than 10,000 anti-Jewish comments have already been posted on social media since the arrests were announced on Monday morning. TEN THOUSAND. That is a very big number, and it is simply horrifying.
Perhaps it might pay to read the following story of Rav Shimon Schwab ZATZAL, and hopefully law-breakers will take heed and stop endangering the lives of Jews in America.
Many years ago, a shameful scandal erupted in the Jewish community centering around a Jewish businessman who was put on trial for embezzlement. At that time, influential members of the embezzler’s community approached Rav Shimon Schwab with a plea that he do what he can to prevent the man from going to prison. Rav Schwab became extremely agitated, and he pointed out to the petitioners that the man’s behavior, which was so widely publicized in the media, caused a tremendous chillul Hashem, and that the man had became a virtual rodef, a threat to the lives of Klal Yisrael.
He told the visitors outright that the embezzler deserved to sit in prison for a long time. He pleaded with them to give the embezzler a message – that he should shave off his beard and take off his yarmulke when appearing in court, because by displaying these signs of his religious affiliation, he would be making a new chillul Hashem every day on the evening TV news and would be a living disgrace for the Jewish people.
It’s high time that people stop doing things illegally. People love to complain that “they are picking on us”. Yes they are. And for good reason. We are held to a higher standard. We are the Am Hanivchar. Let’s live up to that title, and not have ourselves embarrassed and plastered all over the news. Enough is enough. It’s 2017 and everything goes viral in seconds. Social media ignites in a heartbeat with hatred against Jews. Why feed fuel to the fire that is clearly burning?
Yerachmiel Katz – NYC
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
DO YOU HAVE AN OPINION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE POSTED ON YWN? SEND IT TO US FOR REVIEW.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)