Haredi Paper: Obey Memorial Day Siren, Don't Feed Hostile Media

Hamodia editorial staff advise ultra-Orthodox community to show respect for siren, even though it is not the traditional way to commemorate the dead, Israel National News reports.

A religious man standing during the Memorial Day siren, April 15, 2013. Tomer Appelbaum

The editorial staff of a leading ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel has called on community members to obey the Memorial Day siren lest they "play into the hands of the media" and antagonize the general public, Israel National News reported on Monday.

For years, images of ultra-Orthodox Jews ignoring the Holocaust Day and Memorial Day sirens and going about their business has drawn fire within Israeli society.

Websites like Israel National News monitor the media coverage and point out inconsistencies, such as Walla! reporting last week on Hareidim holding a barbecue on Holocaust Day while ignoring a soccer game that secular Israelis were playing at the same time.

According to Israel National News, the Hamodia editorial noted that while "'according to our world view, the ceremonies of the world's nations aren't a model for imitation or truth … hareidi Jews should not keep walking on city streets at the time of the siren.'"

The readers were asked specifically to stand "so as not to 'help those who want to cause a desecration of G-d's name," pointing a finger particularly at the media, "'which doesn't explain what are the original customs of Israel to commemorate the memory of those who passed.'"

The traditional Jewish customs of commemorating the dead involve studying Oral Law, reciting passages from the Psalms, lighting a memorial candle and praying.

The editorial staff's bottom line was that the Hareidi community should honor the memory of the fallen and show respect, either by staying home during the time of the siren or standing in public. The paper described those who do not stand as "'marginal groups'" whose behavior gets emphasized by the "'hostile media,'" added Israel National News.