A haredi thug, leader of a gang of haredi thugs who terrorize the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, is convicted of crimes of violence against another haredi gang. The reason for the violence? A war over pashkvellim, the notorious wall posters that line the neighborhood. The thug is sentence by a shomer shabbat judge to house arrest, and must wear a monitoring bracelet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – including Shabbat. The thug and his rabbis – including the leaders of Badatz Yerushalayim-Edah Haredit, major Lithuanian ‘gedolim,’ the Ashenazi Chief Rabbi, and even a Chabad rabbi – oppose the monitoring bracelet on religious grounds, arguing it is a violation of their freedom of religion to force this criminal to "violate" Shabbat by wearing it.
But the highly respected Zomet Institute, which deals with the interface of modern technology and halakha, ruled the bracelet is permissible to wear on Shabbat. (For this, the head of the institute has received threats from – anonymous haredi thugs.)
Matthew Wagner of the Jerusalem Post reports:
… In a letter to Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) called the use of the bracelet on Shabbat "anti-religious coercion."
"Zomet’s approval of the use of the bracelet on Shabbat is, of course, baseless from a halachic perspective," said Porush. "Halacha forbids the use of an instrument that causes [electronic] currents on a computer on Shabbat," he added.
Rabbi Haim Kanyevsky, one of the most respected in the Lithuanian community, ruled by proxy that use of the monitoring system on Shabbat was prohibited.
Metzger, quoting Kanyevsky, Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landau, and Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, head of the Edah Haredit’s Rabbinic Court, joined the opposition against the monitoring system. However, none of the rabbis explained why the Zomet Institute’s halachic opinion was wrong.
In contrast, Zomet’s Rosen explained why he permitted the use of the bracelet. "In the prisoner’s house there is an electronic receiver that constantly receives broadcasts from the ankle bracelet," explained Rosen.
"The prisoner’s movements do not activate anything. As long as the prisoner does not leave the perimeters of the house he remains within broadcast range of the electronic receiver and no alarm is activated. There is no difference between the ankle bracelet and any conventional battery-powered wrist watch."
Rosen added that it was possible to deactivate the bracelet without removing it, if a prisoner had permission to do so.…
If so, why did these rabbis (including Landau, who is Chabad, and Yona Metzger, the scandal-ridden chief rabbi) rule against it? Maybe because of this:
Rosen said that he had received anonymous phone calls attacking him for
rebelling against the rabbis. "But nobody bothered to find out how the
monitoring system really works," he said.
Another reason may be that Zomet is a Religious Zionist institution and haredim a virulently anti-Zionist. Predictably, the consequences of trying to enforce the law when dealing with these haredim are violent:
Haredi sources predicted that if the court refuses Zarbiv’s request, extensive haredi demonstrations against what they perceive as a violation of Zarbiv’s religious freedom will break out in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.
Supporters have already vented their anger over Zarbiv’s predicament. On Friday, December 29, Zarbiv forcibly removed the bracelet. Moked 99, a private security company that operates the house-arrest monitoring system for the police, responded immediately. Officers from the security company confronted a crowd of angry haredim that surrounded the patrol car, turned it on its side, and slashed all four tires.
Apparently, violent beatings of political opponents, destruction of property, threats and other violence are permitted under haredi understanding of Jewish law.
This really is Orthodox Judaism. Run away from it as fast as you can.