‘Off the record, New York City officials admit that Williamsburg’s Hasidim “work the system,” and experts who don’t have to be reelected come out and just admit there’s widespread fraud… [T]he Haredi birthrate, to be sustainable, requires large and consistent infusions of cash from outside. In Williamsburg, welfare really is a lifestyle.’

Five years ago, Raphael Magarik said what many people who care about distributive justice in America know – systemic welfare abuse rages among the country’s growing ultraorthodox sects. This is money that should go to the actually needy. It’s being stolen.

Strangely, as Magarik notes, the practice is as flagrant as it is widespread. Larger and larger communities of people not entitled to welfare benefits work the system and take them anyway and suffer no consequences. How is this possible?

*************

You see how it happens when (very) occasional law enforcement action comes down, as it has in the last week in Lakewood, New Jersey. The first person arrested for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have gone to, for instance, struggling public schools was the community’s rabbi. Its spiritual leader.

Not only have the authorities known for ages about these criminal conspiracies; they actually met with the community a couple of years ago and suggested they knock it off.

Why did Prosecutor Warn Lakewood about Avoiding Welfare Fraud?

asks a recent local headline. The article quotes local citizens wondering why an entire community got a helpful suggestion from the police rather than the sweeping arrests it’s getting now. All the money lost over those years might not have been lost had police “just admitted there’s widespread fraud” and arrested people for it.

How Did Massive NJ Welfare Fraud Scheme Work?

Another headline.

Answer? Just by doing it.

The paper trail shows the relative ease the families had in allegedly defrauding the government. In one case, authorities say a woman was able to withdraw $1.5 million from a company and deposit the money into her personal bank account while still collecting public assistance.

You just do it. The authorities know what you’re doing and they do nothing. They call a town meeting. Years later they arrest a bunch of people and the sect agrees to try not to do it anymore.

Hundreds of people have called local officials, inquiring if there would be amnesty for those who admit lying about their incomes, and the APP reported that Ocean County authorities have been swamped with calls from public assistance beneficiaries seeking to stop receiving benefits.

Then, since it’s “a lifestyle,” they do it again.

**************

So nu. Israel is increasingly a religious state and it can’t do much about its own humongous haredi mess: Close to a million unemployed or underemployed people, many of whom deny the legitimacy of the state and make sure their children continue the unemployability tradition by refusing to follow the mandated national curriculum.

America is another matter. UD is baffled as to why our own fiscal and legal institutions, fully aware of the situation, do little or nothing.

More on the Latest Victory Against Ultra Orthodoxy.

The struggle continues.

Meanwhile, it helps to know your enemy as intimately as possible:

Women, it seems, are like dirt. When there’s dirt in the seat next to us, we don’t ask to change seats; we politely ask to have the dirt cleaned off. The passenger who asked to “move the woman” related to her as an object, like something disgusting. It’s the same to him no matter how old she is; she’s a woman and must be moved out of range.

… I believe this desire to “move this dirt” stems from the distorted notion that women must cover their bodies so as not to lead men to have improper sexual thoughts, heaven forbid. The women, not the men, are responsible for men’s thoughts. Poor guys, all they want is to be able to go out in public without being hurt, and they encounter alluring demons there. It’s not just ultra-Orthodox society; every society that deals obsessively with covering women up to protect men begins with the same premise. If it were possible to sweep all this dirt into a pile in the corner, it would be wonderful.

The epicenter of women’s filth is the clitoris. That’s why almost every defender of female genital mutilation – the highest profile defender lately is Alan Dershowitz – talks about the procedure as a form of “cleansing” and “purification.” Have the dirt cleansed off.

But, you know, you can scrape and scrape at a woman’s genitals and she’s still filthy. Cover her up so we don’t have to see.

Saint Nick

The group maintains it does not condone female genital mutilation and that it only practices a form of female circumcision that involves no cutting — just a minor nick of the clitoral hood…. Their procedure, they maintain, is extremely minor, not harmful and involves only a nicking of the clitoral hood. They say it’s not done to suppress a woman’s sexuality, but as a requirement for purity.

************************

“Vacation cutting,” as the practice is deemed by those who oppose it, has existed in immigrant enclaves around the world for decades. Federal law has banned genital cutting in the United States since 1996, and last year it became illegal to transport girls for that purpose.

*************************


Vacation Cutting

Deep in the shadows mothers pause
Out come little scraping claws
Some local woman with dirty knives
All so the little ones have purer lives

Ho, ho ho! Who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho ho! Who wouldn’t go?
Deep in the shadows, bleed, slash, flick
Now give your money to good Saint Nick

First comes the clitoris of little Nell
Oh dear slasher kill it well
Give her a dolly that laughs and cries
Tell her be quiet and to shut her eyes

Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go?
Deep in the shadows, bleed, slash, flick
Now give your money to good Saint Nick

Next comes the clitoris of little Lil
Oh just see what a glorious kill
Here is a scissors with lots of snips
Next we’ll go for the labial lips

Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go?
Deep in the shadows, bleed, slash, flick
Now give your money to good Saint Nick

///// \

Slash. Slash. Slash. Slash. Slash.

Backlash.

Julia Kristeva on the Burqa.

I [disagree] with Muslim women from the left who contend we have to honor women’s free choice to cover their faces … I want to recall here Simone de Beauvoir, who argued that freedom does not end with choice. Choice is the starting point of freedom. True freedom is crossing selfhood borders and opening up to others.

“It’s crazy to think it’s still happening.”

A Webby nominee.

More here.

And here.

Truths About the Burqa, Bluntly Stated….

… by Saudi journalist Sabria Jawhar.

I have grown to hate the burqa. I hate the burqa because it serves no logical purpose in Western society. The intent of the clothing is to draw attention away from the woman, but in the West it only attracts unwanted attention…

… 94 percent [of the UK’s non-Muslims] believe that Islam oppresses women…

… Most Saudi women, like me, leave the burqa (abaya) and niqab in Saudi Arabia. But I’m guessing that more than a few Saudi girls wear the niqab because their husbands insist on it. The husband doesn’t care whether strangers see his wife’s uncovered face, but he cares a great deal that his Saudi male friends do. [That his] selfishness and warped view of manhood are more important than his wife’s safety is inexcusable.

… Outlawing the burqa will create a tremendous divide between non-Muslims and Muslims. But wearing the burqa in the West is also just plain stupid.

The Audacity of Seyran Ates

A liberal Muslim woman, she has already been shot and beaten up by Muslim men.

But here she is again, opening a no-burqas mosque.

Read the details, and join UD in fearing for her life.

“Ronald Dworkin … argued that Israel is a flawed democracy because only secular states can be democracies.”

No kidding.

The leadership of the Israeli city Beit Shemesh has told that country’s courts that everyone’s too afraid to go in and enforce legal decisions. The latest one orders the town to take down its many threatening and humiliating signs — signs that not only tell women how to dress, but order them to keep their vileness away from sacred areas. Ultra-orthodox fanatics in town are now so violently out of control that the whole place has become a no-go zone.

[T]he central commercial area of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet has become so notorious that it has become known by some non-haredi residents as “The Heart of Darkness.”

********************

In his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Yigal Marzel decried the lawlessness in the extremist neighborhoods of Beit Shemesh, in which, he noted, the authorities appear to have abandoned the area to violent radicals.

Marzel quoted the response of [the town’s mayor] and the Beit Shemesh Municipality, in which they described the situation in the city as “a war” and “catastrophic,” where extremists are violent toward IDF soldiers, pedestrians and police personnel, throw stones at people and vehicles, and harass and curse people.

“[The state] cannot reconcile itself to this situation, and all the authorities need to take the necessary steps to restore order and observance of the law,” wrote the judge.

The state cannot reconcile itself… Interesting language. It’s like saying I can’t fucking believe this. It doesn’t get you anywhere.

And just as there are people with deep pockets paying the fines of women who keep wearing the burqa where it’s illegal, so UD feels certain there are people with deep pockets happy to pay the penalty ($1,400 per sign every day) the judge will soon impose on lawless Beit Shemesh. For this religious state is in the peculiar position of having decided that the ultra-orthodox of Beit Shemesh are the world’s realest Jews, and thus the very heart and soul of Israel. And now the courts of that country are living with this decision.

********************

A peculiar position? Only if you forget what Ronald Dworkin said about religious states.

Evil Bigoted Norway Bans the Burqa.

What’s next? France?

Oh. Right.

How to win in…

Montana.

What a strange answer.

An interviewer poses a question to the head of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims.

The Austrian government banned full-face coverings in March this year. The Christian Social Union in Bavaria want to do the same. What is your opinion on such a ban?

This ban is unnecessary, and the legal decisions run the risk of being politically instrumentalized. In Germany there is not a single woman who wears the burqa, and most of the women who wear niqabs – we estimate there are not more than a hundred – are visitors from abroad. This debate gives fuel to the populists and serves the agitators.

A strange answer on many levels. The questioner did not use the term burqa, but rather the phrase “full-face coverings.” While I’m sure we can all appreciate the distinction between the generous niqab (you get an eye-slit) and the blinding burqa, I’m not sure any of us gives a shit – symbolically, humanely – about this distinction. The language of the various laws certainly doesn’t distinguish.

Nor am I sure where this guy gets his “not more than a hundred” figure, but anyway no one much cares about numbers either – something burqa/niqab defenders still don’t seem to understand, since, like this guy, they think that if they can only point to a problem in the hundreds rather than thousands we’ll be okay with it. How many cruelly constrained and erased women and little girls in my midst am I comfortable with in a democracy? Answer: None.

But hey they’re visitors!

Oh well in that case. That makes all the difference in the world.

When this man assures us the “ban is unnecessary,” and when he identifies a desire for a ban exclusively with populists and agitators, he reveals … a certain comfort with the current situation…

Striding Powerfully Forward While Wearing a Burqa

In the first lady’s own social media, she made note of the “great strides being made towards the empowerment of women” in Saudi Arabia, which seems like quite a stretch in a country where women cannot drive, guardianship laws are enforced and clothing serves as a form of patriarchal control. She, like the president, may not have come to Saudi Arabia to judge or to tell others how to live, but whitewashing social inequality in a tweet is another matter entirely. In that context, her black jumpsuit became a combination of passive approval and transactional acceptance of clothing as a form of imprisonment.

‘”The legislature and the government worsened the situation of women who are forced to wear the [burqa or niqab] by forcing them to stay at home and disappear from public life all together,” [Rim-Sarah] Alouane said, referring to more traditional families who could be reluctant to let female family members leave their homes without their head coverings.’

Well. That’s refreshing. A French academic admits that there are women in countries like France and Austria (Austria just joined the long list of counties banning the burqa) forced – forced – to wear a burqa in order to leave their house.

Now I ask you. Is that a nice thing for a democracy? That women are treated like that?

UD also likes the way the article’s writer rapidly softens what Alouane just said. Haha those pesky “more traditional” families – not flat-out traditional, not that, but just, like, more traditional than other French and Austrian families… Wouldn’t want to get anywhere near a word like reactionary for a man who forces his wife to cover her mouth and her eyes and every digit on her hands before she can go outside. No it’s just one of many diverse traditions, like female genital mutilation. And although Alouane clearly says “forced,” our cleanup crew hastens to use the word “reluctant”…

Sooooo… The argument here is that we should oppose burqa bans because the men who are currently threatening their wives with violence if they don’t wear them will, under the ban, threaten them with violence if they go out of the house at all.

It Can’t Happen Here…

Since 1990, the estimated number of girls and women in the US who have undergone or are at risk of the practice has more than tripled. The increase is due to rapid growth in the number of immigrants from countries where risk of FGM is greatest. These girls and women are concentrated in California, New York and Minnesota.

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