Locals are complaining once again about haredi Jews moving into their neighborhood… and of course insisting that antisemitism has nothing to do with it.
This time it’s Ocean County, NJ.
The report by JTA is searing: “The video, with suspenseful music playing in the background, opens with footage of a crowd of Orthodox Jews. Then it paraphrases a classic poem about the Holocaust. “First they came for my house, but I did not speak up,” the narrator says. “I said I am not willing to sell and closed my door. … Then they came for my forests, but I did not speak up, because I thought I had no vested interests in the forests.”
“The script is a riff on the Martin Niemoller work lamenting the perils of inaction in the face of Nazi atrocities,” JTA continues. “But the video, which was posted this month, isn’t meant to denounce Nazis. Instead its purported villains are Orthodox Jews looking to move to the Central New Jersey suburbs.”
The group behind the video is Rise Up Ocean County, which wants local residents to help prevent Orthodox families from purchasing homes in and around Lakewood. The group’s web site, riseupoceancount.com says this in its About Us section:
“The adverse effects of continued development and growth in Lakewood, NJ are being felt by every surrounding community, particularly in Toms River, Brick, Howell and Jackson. Schools, infrastructure, municipal and school budgets, municipal, county and state resources are all being pushed to the breaking point. Quality of life issues in the surrounding towns are arising on an almost daily basis. The vast majority of these issues come about as a result of an unwillingness to abide by normal societal standards, standards that ALL residents are expected to adhere to regardless of race, creed, color, religion, disability or sexual identity. We are organizing in an effort to stave off further quality of life erosion, return Ocean County to her majestic stature and to demand from our elected officials that ALL RESIDENTS comply with local, county, state and federal law.”
“Lakewood, which is known as a center of ultra-Orthodox life in the United States, has seen its population boom in recent decades, from around 60,000 in 2000 to more than 100,000 as of 2017,” Haaretz reported. “Local officials have predicted that by 2030, the number would more than double, according to the Asbury Park Press.
As the city has grown, the Israeli newspaper continued, Orthodox families seeking more space have moved to neighboring towns like Toms River or Jackson. “The expansion has created a backlash from some non-Orthodox neighbors, who often say their objections are about zoning, housing density and local support for public schools. But the Orthodox residents and others see some of the criticism as anti-Semitic.”
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