Man, poster regarding gender separation.
Man, poster regarding gender separation.Israel news photo: Flash 90

Last week media personality and journalist Yaron London wrote an article in Yedioth Ahronoth calling for shrinking the size of the hareidi population in Israel. The article caused furor in hareidi and religious circles and hareidi media termed the article an example of overt racism.

London, criticizing attempts to absorb hareidim into the IDF, wrote: "Most of us call for unity instead of heading to battle...Hasn’t the time come to openly say what we feel? Hareidi society educates people to be is the most powerful agent of spreading ignorance, prejudice and all sorts of other nonsense. It is an enemy of the sciences, shuns the arts, disparages the rule of the people, hates women and exploits them...The strengthening of hareidi society is a guarantee for weakening Israeli society to the point of ultimate defeat. Hence, the intellectual effort dedicated to the issue of IDF enlistment should be dedicated to the great challenge: Shrinking the ranks of the haredim."

In retaliation, the hareidi website Tsofar posted an article entitled "Eliminate Yaron London".

The article, written by Shmuel Cooper, compared Yaron London to Hitler and described him as a leading member of Israel’s elite secular media, which, Cooper alleges, controls public opinion and incites against the hareidi population.

Cooper’s title can also be translated as  “Assassinate Yaron London,” intended as a contra to "Shrink the Hareidim", which appeared on the site on Friday and immediately sparked controversy among readers. London's readers encouraged him to file a complaint of incitement to murder.

Cooper had harsh words for London in the article, writing “Just as Hitler in his time used the slogan ‘Jews are our misfortune’ while depicting them as parasites responsible for all of society’s ills in order to prepare public opinion for physical annihilation, for years the [Israeli] establishment has lied that ‘hareidi parasites are a disaster for the state’ to prepare public opinion against them.” 

“And what to do to them? Now Yaron London has let the cat out of the bag. To destroy them physically. Like Hitler did. We need to shrink the existence of Yaron London before he and his friends destroy us. And it’s better — nay, crucial — to do it sooner rather than later.”

Following public uproar at the use of the word "assassination", which he claimed was not meant literally, the title of the article was changed to “Shrink the existence of Yaron London”, mirroring the title of London’s original article in Yedioth Ahronot.

“This is proof that learning Talmud is not preparation for understanding a simple text in Hebrew. Perhaps I needed to translate my article… to Yiddish,” London told Arutz 7 on Sunday.

“I don’t have the energy to deal with complaints to the police, I prefer to assume that there are perhaps a few crazies but many more who are less than brave,” he added.