Here’s a follow-up on the growth of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) influence in Jerusalem, after reading Anshel Pfeffer’s description of its history in Haaretz, “Jerusalem & Babylon / Ultra-Orthodox need not protest Israel, they run it.”
|Ultra-Orthodox man walks past vandalized poster of a woman.
Since the Palestine-Israel Journal office is in the Wadi Joz neighborhood in East Jerusalem, I have been spending an average of three days a week in Jerusalem in recent years, and my life’s circumstances have led me to wander between the neighborhoods of West Jerusalem.
Lately I’ve been staying over in Rehavia — and after reading Pfeffer’s column, the “ah ha” principle suddenly went into effect. Dwindling parts of Rehavia are still a secular enclave, and now I understand the pictures of Golda Meir and Hanna Senesh, without heads, describing their lives, that are plastered on some cafes. They are a protest against the fact that no women appear on public posters in Jerusalem. I saw the ultimate expression of this in Givat Shaul, where a big poster announces “The largest gathering of women ever!” in some stadium (Teddy?), featuring photos of only male rabbis, with Rabbi Ovadiya Yosef hovering above them.
Emek Refaim, another dwindling secular enclave I roam around, has witnessed the disappearance of almost all the non-kosher eateries – with the Ben-Ami restaurant/cafe being perhaps the last hold-out.
I recently had my first ever Diet Burger at a very good meat place off Jaffa Road – diet burger means low-fat meat and a whole wheat bun, and when they asked me how it was, I said very good – but the cheese for a cheese-burger was missing. The sheepish (cowish?) answer was – “we had them till two years ago, but had to give them up. This is Jerusalem.” I recently took a bus to Gan Hapa’amon at the crossroads of Emek Refaiim and the hotel district in the center of town just to have a good cheese-burger at Cafe Paradiso, one of the last holdouts. You can also get a bacon-burger there, and see a very liberal values-friendly clientele.