In my report on tensions between ultra-Orthodox and non-Jews in the region surrounding New York City, I interviewed a wide array of people to try to show the nature of these tensions. One of the people I interviewed, a Jewish individual who is not ultra-Orthodox, told me that many people in the community (not referring to himself) view ultra-Orthodox Jews as “locusts” due to what they perceive as reliance on government resources by ultra-Orthodox villages. This same individual criticized ultra-Orthodox development, arguing that it affects the way of life of non-Jewish and non-ultra-Orthodox residents.
This quote has attracted controversy. My decision to include it obviously does not constitute an endorsement of its language or its argument. Throughout the article, I quote multiple other people who label similar rhetoric, and the attitudes underlying it, as anti-Semitic. My intention in this article was to present a picture of what is happening in the counties surrounding New York and to convey the feelings of all residents of the area, amid a housing boom and the thankfully growing awareness of New York’s anti-Semitism problem (which I have covered before).
This is a complicated subject that can veer into exceptionable territory. It is extremely vital to understand what people in the area are feeling in order to defuse any misunderstandings or ill-will among observant Jews and their neighbors. It is my hope that the reader will come away from the article with a little more knowledge of those attitudes.