Noa Kadmon, Rosh Yehudi

They shouted at us: "We hate everyone who wears a kippah"

In an interview, Noa Kadmon, a secular activist of the Jewish Head organization, tells about what happened on Yom Kippur: "They threw prayer cycles on the floor, they were looking for an excuse just to disturb the prayer itself."

The harassment against the worshippers in Tel Aviv (Photo: Tomer Neuberg, Flash90.)

The horrifying events in Tel Aviv during the Yom Kippur prayers yesterday (Monday) in the city's Dizingoff Square shocked the worshipers from the diverse Israeli spectrum who came to celebrate together during this very Israeli time. Noa Kadmon, a secular girl, resident of Tel Aviv and active in the "Rosh Yehudi" organization, describes in an interview her feelings the day after.

According to Noa: "It was quite a difficult experience, I watched a violent rift in the nation. Most of the people in the country and in Tel Aviv are not interested in the war, residents whose families were killed in the Yom Kippur War and other wars are not interested in the extreme statements, but that does not change the fact that there was not enough condemnation to the exclusion of the extremists".

"They threw Machzor prayer book on people"

Noa begins to recount the event from the corner of her eyes and describes the hatred that was in the eyes of the protesters. "They were supposed to hold the prayer in Dizengoff square as part of the prayer of all vows on the eve of Yom Kippur, what happened was that a group of extremist people arrived with loudspeakers and signs with the aim of disrupting the prayer. They were a violent group, and one of them was arrested as a result.

They put music on the speakers, threw Machzor prayer books on the floor, and threw them at people. They shouted and ranted, shouted at me, and said that my country is more mine than yours. I heard there was someone there who said "We hate everyone who wears a kippah and religious symbols".

The harassment against the worshippers in Tel Aviv (Photo: Tomer Neuberg, Flash90.)

Following the riot of the violent handful, the organization had to announce the transfer of the prayer to the synagogue. Noa describes these minutes: "There was a lot of hatred there, that caused the organization to make a decision that the prayer would take place in a synagogue, which of course had no room for everyone, and they also stood on the stage of the synagogue. What the court ruled was not violated by a Rosh Yehudi, but the protesters and opponents looked for an excuse just to disturb the prayer itself, because what bothered them wasn't really the flags, they didn't prevent anything."

"Even without the flags, the demonstrators continued to make provocations"

Noa continues to tell. "The prayers of Rosh Yehudi in advance were always intended to be mixed because they are in the square en masse, even what was last year, 2,500 people who stood mixed. The whole purpose was to make a small and symbolic event for those who wish to be separated, this is not gender separation in my eyes, certainly as a woman, I am not Seeing it this way, no one is forcing me to stand apart. That's what was in 'Kol Nidrei'."

She further added: "During the 'Ne'ila' prayer, 'Rosh Yehudi' withdrew and did not come to the square. The young men did not accept the decision of the organization's people and said that there was permission to hold a prayer in the square and there were no flags. They held the prayer and blew the shofar, and this did not prevent the opponents from coming, making provocations and disrupting the prayer. They also shouted while the shofar was blew.

Yom Kippur is supposed to unite everyone where we stop for a moment, it is not related to religion, not between us and God, but to tradition, why we are here. People there said "I don't care if it was also Uganda, but I was born here, so don't enter my city, go home" and I ask which home? This is our home!"

Noa Kadmon, activist of the 'Rosh Yehudi' organization (Photo: Selfie)

"The protesters interfered before a check was made to see if there was a partition"

The issue at the heart of the whole event from the beginning was the Tel Aviv Municipality's ban on holding the prayer with a partition, following the decision, a petition was submitted to the Court of Administrative Affairs, which for its part rejected the request. As a result, a number of Israeli flags were hung, which apparently infuriated the handful of protesters who arrived at the place, which they thought was a partition.

Noa completely denies this. "There was no partition as defined by the court as what is it a partition." she says: "At the beginning of 'Kol Nidrei' there were five flags at a height that marked for those who wanted to stand separately where they stand, but it did not interfere with the transition."

"There was no partition that hindered the free passage of women and men, and it was actually taken down very quickly following the requests and objections, so in practice, there was no partition at prayer at all. The court ruled and said that a partition is a physical thing that prevents passage within the public space, but that's not what happened there, even the flags, Those who were, it's just an excuse."

Dizengoff Square (Photo: Tomer Neuberg, Flash90.)

We heard one of the leaders of the protest who tweeted that the next targets are the Chabad booths and the Torah nuclei (Garin Torani), does it seem that the story of the partition that didn't exist is just an excuse to remove any Jewish sign from the public space of the city?

"Unequivocally", they came with loudspeakers even before they saw if there was a partition or not, in the 'Ne'ila' prayer there were no partitions but they still resisted and made provocations, that says it all, that it didn't matter at all. They call themselves liberals, liberal means that there is a place for everyone, including the religious, the LGBT, the secular, the traditional. Doing only their side is not liberal."

"This is an election campaign of Huldai"

The Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai claimed this morning (Tuesday) on Reshet B radio station that "the public in the State of Israel has woken up, and we cannot change the character of the city", just last year the Municipality of Tel Aviv tweeted in favor of the event, and the question arises as to whether this is an election campaign and interest at all. Kadmon unequivocally believes that this is an election campaign. According to her: "The residents of Tel Aviv, a thousand of them came to hear the blowing of the shofar during the 'Ne'ila' prayer outside the synagogue, it was not in the square, there were hundreds who came to Dizengoff, last year 2,500 people."

"People in Tel Aviv, even the secular ones, on Yom Kippur want to connect with tradition, no one travels, everyone goes outside with white shirts and stops and honors this day for themselves as well to remember who we are and why we are here and what unites us. In light of everything that happened last year it was The day that was supposed to be one and the mayoral candidates missed, they condemned the event from the wrong side."

Ron Huldai (Photo: Chaim Goldberg, Flash90.)

The mayoral candidate Orna Barbivai released a video in which she stated that the separation between men and women in the public space will not work in the city, if she is elected, do you plan to demand that she cancel the Eid al-Adha prayer next year when only men are seen there?

We expect that there will be equality in administrative decisions, for Jews and Muslims, this is my expectation as a citizen, as a resident of Tel Aviv, and also of the Rosh Yehudi organization. I think that to anyone who wants to be in a democratic place, it is also part of this idea. At the expense of the elections, they say deliberately extreme, defiant, and populist statements and not only her, which is unfortunate because this is how the rift in the nation grows.

Orna Barbivai (Photo: Yonatan Zindel, Flash90.)

In the upcoming elections, does Ron Huldai deserve to receive the mandate from the Jewish and tradition seekers in Tel Aviv?

"Voting for someone who does not call and causes the condemnation of any population that supports unity and closeness. A Jewish leader is one such, on Tisha B'Av they were responsible for discourse circles that there is nothing more close and civilized than those circles and also for their conduct. I hope there will be a candidate who will support this, there is an audience here A giant who looks at it that way and needs someone to represent him."

Are you optimistic about the city's future?

"I am always optimistic, mainly because there is no other option, it is impossible for every place to decide how it is. I am secular in this city and want a place for everyone, we will fail if we completely exclude religion from the public sphere because it cuts us off from the reason we are here and that is terrible. I am optimistic because I think that in the end they will come to the understanding that there is no other option or country, I wish they would come to a conclusion without a military operation."

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