Who Moved Abutbul's Cheese?

The cliche definition of insanity, as making the same mistakes over and over, while expecting different results, could apply to Moshe Abutbul's response to the High Court decision to instruct new elections in Beit Shemesh.

Current mayor Moshe Abutbul responded to the court's decision by stating:

 "injustice and theft has been done in the wake of my sweet victory. There was not one Supreme Court ruling in favor of the ultra-Orthodox sector. The court despises the Right and the ultra-Orthodox. People tell me that if my name was not Abutbul the ruling would be different, and it's hard for me to deny that. It is obvious what the public environment is and the judges swept after the media. I hope that a crushing victory in the upcoming elections will be our answer."

Within this short response (which Abutbul had four months since the October elections to carefully consider beforehand) he accuses the Supreme Court of injustice, theft, of being hareidi-bashers, Sephardi-phobes and being corrupted by the Press.

The claim that the court was motivated by hatred of Sephardim was perhaps the most bizarre, as Moshe Abutbul was facing off in the court case against mayoral challenger Eli Cohen who is from..urr..Morocco.

This theme has been amplified by the Bet Shemesh Hareidi Newspaper, Chadash, which flatly accuses the whole legal system of being anti-chareidi and anti Sephardi -screaming in this weekend's front page headline "My name is Abutbul [Sephardi] and I am Chareidi - so I didn't have a chance". Not a word of regret, soul searching, admission of fault, reaching out for unity.

Instead, the message is one of negative integration - rallying the Abutbul camp through claiming their camp is under vicious attack by malevolent external forces - in this case the Supreme Court, the District Court, the Police, The Attorney General, Yehudah Weinstein, Abutbul's rival candidate, Eli Cohen, and presumably Lord Voldemort.

The famous book Who Moved My Cheese, posits that it is extremely difficult to change deeply entrenched habits and assumptions - a mouse will repeatedly go back to the cheese spot in the cage, even after the cheese stops being placed there, and new avenues to cheese are opened.

Ever since the voter fraud in Beit Shemesh was publicly exposed in a police sweep on election day, 22nd October 2013, Moshe Abutbul has taken the knee-jerk response to all criticism and perceived threats:

Deny; Minimize; Marginalize; Attack the Messenger (by calling non-Chareidim Chareidi-bashers; and by calling internal critics traitors); Attack the Victim (in this case Eli Cohen and the electorate of Beit Shemesh). If all else fails, the response is to admit to some measure of error, and sincerely promise to clear it up internally. And above all, Circle The Wagons!

In his election victory speech in October Abutbul missed an opportunity to unite the city, instead reverting to lashing out at the Press, demonic "outside forces" etc:

Abutbul stated that the elections had not only taken place over the last several months, but that they had been a “brutal battle” that started at the beginning of his first term when the press tried to “blacken” his name and make him into a “threat” to the non-haredi residents of Beit Shemesh.
“Today we see that all of the delegitimization did not stand the test,” the mayor said, stating that he always acted out of concern for peace, love and unity.
“I think that the media needs to search their souls” and the time for a “cease-fire” has come, he said. “The residents of the city noted clearly that they had enough of outside interference. Let us live in harmony.”
Moshe Abutbul also missed an opportunity to take the moral high ground against the election fraudsters.

If I had been Abutbul's speechwriter I would have had him say in his election victory speech, and on every occasion since then:

"I was appalled that there are serious allegations by the police that there was widespread and organized election fraud in Beit Shemesh. If true, this criminal behavior brings shame upon Beit Shemesh. Anyone who is found to have been involved, directly or indirectly, in this election fraud will have no place in my coalition and I shall do everything in my power to make sure they have no further involvement in Beit Shemesh public life. I call on every single citizen across the community to actively assist the police in their inquiries and to bring criminals to justice."

However, instead, Moshe Abutbul and the local Hareidi press have consistently accused the legal system of being solely motivated by hatred of chareidim; they have claimed that, if there was a crime, it was by a few random individuals; and that Eli Cohen had gone to the courts because Cohen was just a bad loser. 
Have Moshe Abutbul and his supporters learned anything from their election debacle? Will they repeat their past mistakes? Can they kick the habit of negative campaigning and negative integration?
If their response to the Supreme Court ruling is an indication - then the Abutbul camp is back to business as usual in this month-long new election campaign till 11th March.  


  1. There is no need for him to worry. The rabbonim in the Charedi camp will issue a "fatwa" and call for Jihad against the infidels.
    The first to obey will be the formally intelligent Anglos whose every move must come with consent of their rav.

  2. did you mean formerly intelligent?

  3. David,
    Can u say with a straight face that the supreme court is objective? Would you say that when it comes to right wing political issues? Religious issues or just haredi issues? Look at their record across the board.
    Is the Govt objective? Look what happened with the left wing teacher talks terrible about the state-Min of educ says you cant fire him.
    Look what happened to sherut leumi person who spoke about disengagement-Min. of Educ says fire her.
    Yes , sounds objective to me.
    Question-When The Eli Cohen activist openly shared his views on camera that the Askenazi Haredim should go back to Auschwitz, was their a severe public condemnation from Eli Cohen? Thats a pretty severe remark. Why no mass demonstration in Sheinfeld about how this man doesnt represent Eli Cohens values or his followers values? Hmmn.. Sounds to hypocritical to me. A few nutty extremists cause some trouble and u expect the whole haredi world to standup and say something and more than a couple of Eli Cohen supporters say or do something not very nice and not one peep let alone a march or demonstration against it by your side,
    Be fair, demand the same from your side that you expect from the other side.
    The attorney General called for new elections before a full police report was released(I beleiev it still isnt released). Is he a prophet? Innocent until proven guilty? Only if you are Eli Cohen, of course......................

    1. The Attorney General had access to the police investigation, and the information was quoted extensively in his original appeal.
      The police announced this week that they have sufficient evidence against eight suspects to press charges (and many more who were apparently complicit). Read this article from Wednesday in Maariv:


      They waited to announce this until after the court's decision so that they would not be accused of influencing the decision.

  4. Anonymous - I recommend you read the court's findings. They did not find a solitary psychiatric outpatient (the guy who shouted about Auschwitz, before being hauled off by his friends) was responsible for the fraud. They found organized crime, on a community-wide basis, involving several shuls and hundreds of individuals, with the tacit backing of a ring of protectors at the rabbinical and political echelons.
    Regarding the different legal processes, criminal vs civil, you surely know the difference between the processes, and the different standards of proof required by both systems. No criminal conviction (beyond all reasonable doubt), does NOT equal no civil case (51% evidence it happened).
    Anonymous, you, like Abutbul, are using the same deny, minimize, attack the messenger, etc outmoded tactics.
    The tactics which, together, have created the environment for organized crime.
    The word which doesn't seem to come into your vocabulary is Sorry, and all that goes with sincere regret.

  5. Sorry? I didnt do anything. Are you saying all hareidim are part of organized crime now? Wow, thats a pretty condemning statement of about 1,000,000 Jews in the world based on 15 lunatics in bet that say and do stupid things.
    Is the police investigation done? I dont believe so. If so, why havent all these Rabbis and people been arrested for voter fraud which is a crime? if the investigation isnt over then how can anyone be condemned or ridiculed on something where the evidence isnt out yet unless of course you have access to secret files which would be illegal of course and then you would be considered part of "organized crime" as you put it.
    Lets not minimize the Eli Cohen supporters who have been less than righteous. There have been Haredi people attached in Bet Shemesh since the election with rocks and slurs. There have been plenty of signs at the demonstrations and at the hearings that said We wont let Bet Shemesh turn Hareid as opposed to the fake official message put out by the campaign that the campaign is for improvements in Bet Shemesh and nothing to do about religion.
    I daven in a certain Mizrahi shul sometimes and when haredi collectors come in collecting, not bothering anyone, not breaking the rules of the shul, there are a few individuals, whom I know openly support Eli Cohen, that wont even give an agora to them and they sometimes have made jeering comments under their breath about them. Yes,others in the shul do give however the point is there are DL that bear a huge grudge against the haredi world and that is what the whole Eli Cohen Campaign is about-US VS Them.
    The original campaign was started off like that by Eli Cohen supporters.
    Look at the main anglo activists involved, people who are fighting desperate against what they perceive to be the Hareid take over of Bet Shemesh. It isnt an organized crime takeover, ratehr one of simple numbers. More haredim move in so they are the larger numbers.
    Stop whining and get DL to move in and then you will win the election.

    1. anonymous - i think you are missing some information regarding "the takeover". DL can't move in if the new projects are not marketed to them. Abutbul's plaint "market forces will decide" regarding gimmel1+2 are at best disingenuous if not outright deceptive when in Gimmel 1, dira lamishtaken subsidy criteria were set for the Haredi public only (a full 1/3 of the gimmel1 is dira lamishtaken and not only the 1/3 that was supposed to be Haredi) and kablanim were specifically told by Montag's planning dept. to market ONLY to Haredim. When free market did play in, such as Ramat Shilo, lots of DL moved in or will move in to mishkafayim and Mem-3. but those are crumbs thrown by Abutbul to show that he does k'ilu build for other populations. but look at the fine print: gimmel1+2 add up to 6000+ units marketed exclusively to the haredi sector.mishkafayim+mem3 are 1000 units. ratio - 6:1. let's not be naive

  6. can you expect anything else from abutbul?
    he is haredi through and through and will forever toe the haredi line. this has been evident for 5 years (and well before) and unfortunately many were deceived last time via his gneivat da'at in making non-haredim think that he would be balanced.
    those hard-core haredim who do what they are told will continue to support him and believe what they are told - that they are, nebach, persecuted by Israeli society.

  7. So it is fine to call anyone who doesn't agree with you as being "formally intelligent",

    That seems to be quite lacking in respectful discussion and derech eretz. Or is it ok to bash,degrade,hate... the other side and pretend that you are holier than them if you support Eli Cohen.

    1. BTW, I think it was a typo and Chaim meant to write "Formerly intelligent", not "formally intelligent".
      The intended meaning, I believe, was that well educated (ie university, professional etc), broad minded (not brought up in the ghetto) Americans come to RBS where they sign-up on the dotted line of a chareidi shul membership, and are sucked into becoming regimented Yes-Men of their community rabbi, schools and cloistered culture.
      They apparently leave their intelligence with their coat in the shul lobby.
      Thus "formerly intelligent".
      The fatwa stuff is overly-done rhetoric, but we all know what Chaim's referring to. The pashkevilim signed by community rabbonim instructing the faithful to vote a certain way, or face spiritual damnation.

      Chaim - please can you explain yourself, as Anonymous found your comments "lacking in derech eretz etc".

  8. Interesting, Arutz Sheva has a story that Eli Cohen went to R. Haim Drukman and R. Drukman said “In every place, one should listen to the local rabbis. The rabbis of Beit Shemesh have signed a letter supporting Eli Cohen… Rabbis outside the city may not rule differently,”
    Sounds very much like the so called "hareidi Rabbi's saying vote for Abutbol. I cant wait to hear David, Chaim and the others in the chorus condemn R. Drukman for mixing Religion and politics and saying the Rabbis should stay out of politics.
    Hmn...I am waiting..
    SOmehow I think i will be waiting a very long time...........

    1. Many are offended by the mixing of religion and politics. But it isn't stopping anytime soon. You point to DL rabbis who write "we support Eli Cohen" as a justification for equal statements by Charedi rabbanim, when in fact it is only to help counter messages like "voting for a chiloni condemns you."

  9. Actually, Anonymous, David has outspokenly criticised Rabbi Druckman's actions in the past on this blog - specifically regarding Rabbi Druckman continuing to employ Rav Motti Elon, after his conviction, in a teaching position.
    So, Anonymous, you might not have so long to wait as you think...


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