Monday, May 09, 2005

The Amar scandal: three comments

1. I was initially really sorry for him, but I'm more than a little puzzled as to why Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar is still in Thailand when his wife, daughter son are being officially charged with extremely serious crimes, kidnapping and beating. It's true he couldn't have made it home before Shabbat, but surely he should have been on the first plane home on Motzai Shabbat. This is now two days later and still -- no sign of him. Is it at all possible that he is staying away to politically distance himself from the goings-on??????? Or does he have something to hide? I'm not sure which is worse.
2. Of all the disturbing facts about the Amar's son Meir, the most disturbing is the oft-repeated claim that he 'left home when he was 13' to begin a new, secular life. No mention of a boarding school or anything -- simply 'left home.' How do parents let their 13 year old son 'leave home,' under any circumstances?
3. I saw at least one article yesterday (which I can't find again -- if anyone can direct me to it I'd be grateful) about how the Haredi community is blaming the evils of the Internet for this whole episode. Let's be clear: this is not about the evils of the Internet, which like anything can be used for good and for bad, but about the evils of insufficient parental guidance and supervision, of seeing physical violence as the solution to one's problems and of seeing 'family honor' as a prime value.
The article in today's Jerusalem Post, in which a Haredi journalist suggests that his community will see R. Amar's family as heroes for the way they dealt with this problem -- "Most people in Bnei Brak think that boy got off too easily," said Weiner. "What are a few bruises? They should have broken some bones" -- is even more disturbing in the crudeness it reveals.

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