Middle Eastern families banned

Monday, June 19, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
One ultra-Orthodox community in central Israel is banning families of Middle Eastern descent from its community in order to insulate members of its society from what they allege is a secular influence. The Brachfeld neighborhood reception committee says that it wants to maintain what it considers the community’s high spiritual level, but that Middle Eastern Jews, even if they are religious, do not have the same commitment to their religion. There are consequences for those who sell property to Jews of Middle Eastern descent without committee approval, including banning their children from school. Few exceptions are made for Middle Eastern families who desire to live in the neighborhood. The committee demands residents to meet certain modesty, personality and religious standards. For example, television is prohibited and Internet is considered a serious obstacle to one’s spiritual well-being. “It’s not that we are racist, but we worry for our children’s future,” said one member of the community. “This scattering is also in favor of (Middle Eastern Jews).”

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