Yeshiva in Ramat Hasharon
Yeshiva in Ramat HasharonRamat Hasharon Hesder Yeshiva

Secular and religious supporters of the Hesder yeshiva in Ramat Hasharon have launched a campaign under the slogan "Ramat Hasharon Does not Hate," in response to Mayor Avi Grober's decision to close the yeshiva.

The campaign is based on a series of videos of local Ramat Hasharon residents protesting against what they call "hatred of the religious and yeshiva."

In the opening post of the Facebook page created under the campaign's slogan, Avraham Ozsinai, a secular resident of Ramat Hasharon, writes that "darkness descended on our city, especially when the Festival of Light began. That small group of people who are frantic to incite and spread hatred against the yeshiva students in particular and the Torah core group (Garin Torani, young religious Zionist families who move to towns to add to Torah life and improve educational and social conditions in the town, ed.) in general succeeded in their campaign of hatred and intimidation."

"They apparently managed to frighten Mayor Avi Grober so much that he himself forgot who he is and what his roots are, and as in the dark days of history he ordered the prohibition of Torah study in the Bar Yochai Synagogue," the post said.

Ramat Hasharon Mayor Avi Grober
Ramat Hasharon Mayor Avi GroberFlash 90

"It is clear to everyone that the reason for issuing the order is submission to the pressure of a small group, gripped by blind and abysmal hatred, who are bothered by the mere sight of the community and yeshiva students. They simply want to remove them from the city and they don't hesitate to use any way or means to achieve their goal. Can one imagine that Jews in the Land of Israel can prevent other Jews from studying Torah in a synagogue? Are we returning to the dark days of history by our own initiative? Are we not satisfied with external haters, that we must support domestic haters?"

Shlomi Hali, also a secular resident of Ramat Hasharon, who lives across from the Hesder yeshiva, says, "It's part of my home, it's part of my heart, there's only smiles here, nothing more."

Zohar Harush, another resident in the area, says in the video: "I don't think it's fair; no one can decide who will be here and who won't be here. They don't do anything bad, they do good here in the neighborhood. We're with them. I'm actually glad they're here, they do good things."

Regarding the leaders of the campaign against the core program and the yeshiva, Harush says on the video, "There are apparently people who think that this city is theirs. Most of the veteran Israelis here have no problem with them and actually do want the yeshiva students," says Harush. "What do we know that they don't know? Aren't they our brothers? Who is this supposed to disturb?"

In another video, resident Ohad Cohen who lives near the yeshiva says, "There's strong hatred here. Everyone who lives here is very happy that they're here and will be even happier if they stay. I like seeing them. Too bad that in our day and age such things still exist. It comes from baseless hatred, plain and simple. It's just that they can't stand to see people here with a kippah and haircovering. I don't mind seeing people with kippot and kerchiefs just like I don't mind seeing any kind of people here. It would be very sad and disturbing to see this yeshiva close."

The campaign also includes copies of inciting posts against the Torah core group and the yeshiva that were uploaded to the Internet, with the identifying details of their posters blurred.

In one post it was said that the Torah core people "are taking over and multiplying like locusts." Another post says, "I will state it clearly and concisely: I hate those who try to dictate what to do on Shabbat. I hate those who don't serve in the army, and I hate those whose Torah is their sole profession, and we secularists fund them." Although not making an attempt to justify the hatred-filled post, residents stated that Torah core groups are made up of religious Zionist families who serve in the IDF and certainly do not attempt to dictate Shabbat laws.

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