Sunday, July 08, 2012

Would you make a thief's story the centerpriece of your complaint?

This is exactly what Hamodia did this past week. They wrote a long article about the problems /abuses of passengers on the light rail in Jerusalem. The article had 3 stories, 2 very legitimate (a woman having to pay for a stroller and a problem with 2 transfers on the same card). Then came the third story which was the focus of the article. It told the story of Aryeh, an 18 year old foreign Yeshiva bochur who had no money but decided to take the light rail anyway (in short, steal/cheat). He figured the worst thing that would happen is that he would get caught and he would pay a 186 shekel fine. In plain terms the Yeshiva bachur was a thief who expressed no remorse about his actions and had no thought of paying back the company. He was caught and because he had no id on him he was arrested. Once he was arrested he was mistreated in jail etc.

I have 2 major problems with this story.
1. Why publicize the story about a thief? It just takes away from the legitimate complaints about the light rail. It also is a chillul hashem that someone who is learning in Yeshiva can steal without any reservations.
2. The Hamodia article was supposed to detail issues with the light rail. This boys story did not do that. He tried to cheat the light rail, had no id, and was arrested, there is nothing wrong with that. Whatever happened after that in the police station has nothing to do with the light rail and does not point to any problems with the light rail (it might point to other problems such as police brutality but that was not the point of this article).

What really bothered me about this story was the fact that this kind cheating is basically condoned by Hamodia and parts of the Charedi world. Yes, Hamodia paid lip service in the article by stating that he was wrong but that is all it was. If the cheating/stealing truly bothered them then they would have found a different story about the light rail to print. After all, according to the story there are hundreds of incidents to choose from.


Natan Slifkin said...

Why don't you write a letter to them?

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

Way, way back when I first started med school I took a trip by bus up to the Jewish section in town to peruse the seforim stores for books on medical halacha. As I stood on the bus a young yeshiva bochur got on and as the bus pulled away from the stop he patted on his pockets and then told the driver he was sorry but he had no tokens or money. So the driver told him he had to get off at the next stop.
Being a naive fool in those days (I'm not so naive anymore, the other term still applies) I stepped forward and gave one of my extra tokens to the driver. To help another Yid out, right?
A few minutes later the boy came over and handed me a token (!!) saying that he just wanted to take the bus for one stop and this is how he does it.
I was stunned. I even asked "Gezeliah is permitted in your yeshivah?" And he looked at me condescendingly: "Not from other Jews, jsut goyim!"

SF2K01 said...

The charedi/hamodia culture places the yeshiva bochur on such a pedestal that they see the crime as being that he can't ride for free in the first place! They get so many hand outs, they expect everything to be free for them, this is the problem that is the epitome of their culture these days.

Yehudah said...

As usual (not so smart) commenters are trying to prove that the exception proves the rule. They probably believe all blacks are murderers, all white people are racist etc.

On a different note, what happens when the light rail screws you out of a ticket. Is it ok to steal a ride back then? I believe it's fine. The light rail screwed me out of a bunch of tickets, and I keep count and make it up at a later time.

Unless stealing is only allowed in one direction.

bluke said...

That is a different issue and may be justified. That was certainly not the case in the article. While stereotyping is not fair, there is not denying that honesty in business/cheating is an issue in the Charedi world.