Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai Fears Religious Coercion

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Deputy Minister of Education (Yahadut HaTorah) Rav Meir Porush told Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai that the ongoing discriminatory policies against chareidim in his city is unacceptable, also formally protesting the widespread chilul Shabbos that was associated with preparations for Tel Aviv’s gala 100 year celebration, which was held on a motzei Shabbos.
 
The mayor feels that under the banner of free speech and expression there is nothing condescending regarding his Committee to Prevent Chareidi Coercion in areas of the city. Porush cited ongoing activities to prevent Chabad shluchim in Ramat Aviv from encouraging residents to put on tefillin as one example of unacceptable behavior.

The mayor in his letter to Porush spoke of his concerns regarding religious coercion, to which Porush questioned just what he is taking about, asking if there is anywhere on the globe where one does not find Chabad shluchim encouraging people to put on tefillin, but in Tel Aviv, such an act is found to be objectionable and deemed ‘religious coercion’. Porush also questioned why this well-intentioned innocent act is perceived as an attempt by chareidim to take over the city.
 
Porush cited the Ramat Aviv Chabad house has been operating for 15 years, serving as an oasis for spiritual sustenance for those seeking it. In his response, the mayor spoke of Tel Aviv as the city that welcomes all, of all walks of life but Porush stated this is just a “cliché” which seems to apply to all with the exception of chareidim.

The deputy minister also spoke of the massive chilul Shabbos on erev Pessach surrounding the city’s 100th birthday celebration when City Hall promised religious leaders this would not be the case. Nevertheless, witness spoke of the trucks that entered and unloaded all day in preparation for the gala event.
 
The mayor insists the city undertook to refrain from chilul Shabbos and if indeed there were activities that should have not taken place, it was a mistake and he apologizes.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)