Thursday, November 13, 2008

Biased Media

We always think of the mainstream media as biased against Israel, Jews etc. What is fascinating is that the Charedi press has it's own biases.

I get both the weekly Hamodia in English as well as Mishpacha in Hebrew and it is always interesting to see what news is in one and not the other and vice versa.

This week the difference is dramatic. Mishpacha devotes a huge number of articles to the municipal elections focusing on Porush's loss in Yerushalayim. Hamodia on the other hand almost completely ignores the elections. They have one small article and that is it. Why the big difference?

The answer is simple. Hamodia is run by Gerrer Chasidim and Ger right now is feuding with much of the Charedi world. Ger refused to support Porush in Yerushalayim and in fact, may have actually told some of their Chasidim to vote for a chiloni candidate. Similarly in Bet Shemesh, Ger did not endorse the Charedi candidate from Shas supported by Degel Hatorah, rather they supported Shalom Lerner who is religious but not Charedi.

Here is a fascinating article from VosIzNeias

Meanwhile, the rebbe of Ger, Ya'acov Aryeh Alter, aware of the threat that Porush presents, has called on his hassidim not to vote for him, even though he's the city's only haredi candidate. Ger enjoys the support of the Boyan Hassidic sect, which is still angry at Porush for bucking its authority in the Betar municipal elections.

In Friday's Hamodia, a weekly controlled by the hassidic sect, Alter placed a front page notice calling to vote for Agudath Yisrael. Conspicuously absent was the rebbe's electoral command regarding the mayoral race. Porush's name simply was not mentioned.

The rebbe's omission was particularly striking since it was accompanied by an ad publicizing the opinions of a list of leading haredi rabbis who specifically called to vote not only for Agudath Yisrael and for Porush.

Here is another interesting article from VosIzNeias

Outside a polling place in Jerusalem's Geula neighborhood yesterday, young Hasidic followers of mayoral candidate Meir Porush gathered. On the other side of the street, youngsters in the distinctive dress of the Gerrer Hasidic community set up their own post. The tension between the two camps was palpable.

After a few minutes, the Gerrers crossed the street and entered the station. On the orders of their rebbe, due to a longstanding grievance between their group and Porush's camp, they were threatening to vote for secular candidate Nir Barkat. All eyes were now on the Gerrer voters to see whether they would indeed "betray" the ultra-Orthodox sector by voting for Barkat.

A young Gerrer walked into the station slowly with his grandfather and assisted the old man in inserting his ballot into the box. On leaving, he encountered an acquaintance from his community and the two began a lively discussion, from which it emerged that both voted for Barkat. "Like everyone," he told his friend jokingly.

Was his hand shaking, his friend asked. "No way," was the response. "The rebbe said so, and so we're happy to vote for Barkat." Hearing the tale, Moshe Friedman, the head of Porush's campaign, let out a sigh, saying, "it breaks your heart."

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