Religion

Israel Channel One Documentary: “Big Brother haYehudi”

by Joseph W

Last night, Israel’s oldest TV channel and most successful terrestrial station, Channel One screened a documentary exposing links between Yad L’Achim and Israel’s Interior Ministry. The documentary was called, quite bluntly, Big Brother haYehudi.

The title refers to the idea that Yad L’Achim are trying to deny Jews in Israel the basic freedom to think for themselves. Yad L’Achim routinely employ “Big Brother” tactics to try to control the way Jews think and worship.

Watch it online, although it is only available in Hebrew at the moment.

The aim of the documentary was to examine the impact of Yad L’Achim’s work on the private, personal decisions taken by law-abiding Jewish citizens in Israel.

The documentary includes covert footage from a Ministry of Interior official who admitted to receiving information from Yad L’Achim about the private beliefs of Israeli citizens.

Big Brother haYehudi profiled a Jewish girl who learned to play the organ, and began practising in a local Catholic Church. When Yad L’Achim found out about this, they began to follow and spy upon the girl. Eventually, the priest forbade her from playing the organ in the church again. The priest clearly did not want any further bother from Yad L’Achim.

The most shocking part of the documentary is the account of a blind woman who claimed to have been taken by Yad L’Achim operatives in a car, without knowing who she was with or where she was going. She was then led to the Yad L’Achim office in Bnei Brak where activists sought to force her to abandon her faith in Jesus.

The documentary touched upon various aspects of this group that Harry’s Place has already covered, such as their hysterical rhetoric in Ashdod, their hounding of Penina Conforti, and their links with the serial murderer Jack Teitel.

Back in 2009, Harry’s Place wrote:

The tactics of Yad L’Achim are disgusting. What is worse, Shas chairman Eli Yishai is at worst enabling them and at best not stopping them. Yishai is currently the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel. He sits on Israel’s Security Council and serves as Benjamin Netanyahu’s Interior Minister. Under his watch, it appears that Yad L’Achim has been  been running riot. According to Haaretz, “behind the threats, the spreading of harmful rumors and harassment are not only the thugs of Yad L’Achim, but top Interior Ministry officials”:

Other liberals are concerned.

The documentary featured an interview with a Meretz MK, who was very concerned at the power this non-governmental agency is having upon the lives of the citizens of Israel. He suggested that Yad L’Achim is acting like thought police.

Unsurprisingly, Yad L’Achim was defended in the TV studio by Michael Ben-Ari, a dedicated far-Right Kahanist. Ben-Ari was rightly taken to task by a very intelligent host, who suggested to Ben-Ari that Yad L’Achim was nothing more than a religious militia.

Increasingly, Israelis are becoming exasperated with the tactics of Yad L’Achim and the irrelevant religious justifications they give for intimidating private citizens.

Frankly, I hope that support for Yad L’Achim disappears altogether, and Big Brother haYehudi is an excellent step in this direction.

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