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Who's 'Desecrating' Holocaust Memorial Day?

Hareidi pundits angry at focus on yeshiva students' barbecue next to Holocaust memorial - soccer match next to them went unreported.
By Chaim Lev, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 4/28/2014, 2:16 PM

Barbecues and soccer in Sacher Park (file)
Barbecues and soccer in Sacher Park (file)
Flash 90

The Israeli media was surprisingly quiet this year regarding its annual pastime of seeking out and documenting hareidim holding barbecues at Jerusalem's Sacher Park while the country mourns on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Aside from one story about a group of roughly 100 students from a Jerusalem hareidi yeshiva being caught holding a barbecue in Beit Shean Sunday night as Holocaust Memorial Day began, right beside a memorial to Holocaust victims and fallen IDF soldiers, a noted lack of such stories characterized the news.

The one news site that reportedly did not veer from the annual "tradition" of hunting down hareidim "desecrating" the day was Walla!, which on Sunday reported that "dozens of hareidi families arrived at Jerusalem's Sacher Park, occupied themselves with barbecues, and started the work of grilling."

What remarkably was not covered by the news source was the jovial game of soccer held by a group of secular Israelis directly adjacent to the hareidi barbecue.

The selective reporting angered more than a few journalists on hareidi issues, who posted enraged responses on their Facebook pages.

Reporter Yedidya Meir, whose photographs of the soccer game were published on the site Hareidim 10, wrote sarcastically "certainly tomorrow (the soccer game) will be on (Walla!'s) front page."

"It's already played out," a hareidi businessman from Jerusalem told Arutz Sheva. "Galloping over to Sacher Park to 'trap' hareidim eating dinner has worn itself out, and I'm happy for that."

"Just like we don't expect that seculars will not hold barbecues on Shabbat and holidays because 'they celebrate the Shabbat differently,' the time has come for you to understand that a hareidi 'caught' eating in Sacher Park isn't, Heaven forbid, due to the disrespect he has for this day," noted the businessman.

It is worth noting that the date for observance of Holocaust Memorial Day was instituted by the Israeli Knesset in 1951, and that a number of rabbis did not adhere to the practice, arguing instead that the Ninth of Av has been set aside as the day to mourn national tragedies to the nation of Israel. Similarly the Chief Rabbinate previously in 1949 decided on the Tenth of Tevet as the date for memorial, given that it is the date of the siege of Jerusalem by Babylon.