The Ultra Orthodox vs. The Israeli Army: Israel’s Other Religious War (VICE)

VICE News:

“Since Israel’s inception, the Haredi — ultra-Orthodox adherents of Judaism —have been exempt from the country’s military conscription laws. But their growing population, coupled with their high unemployment rate and dependence on state benefits, sparked outrage within the country’s secular majority. After years of demanding that the Haredi share the responsibility of serving in the armed forces, the Israeli government passed an unprecedented law in March 2014 that requires Haredi men to serve in the military.

The decision resulted in major opposition from the Ultra Orthodox community, from violent protests to religious leaders demanding that no one should comply. VICE News travels to Israel to speak with hardline members and leaders of the Ultra Orthodox community as well as soldiers in the Netzah Yehuda, the IDF’s Ultra Orthodox Battalion, to get their take on the government’s decision.”

VICE News: “The Ultra Orthodox vs. The IDF: Israel’s Other Religious War”

Posted in Israel,military | 7 Responses | Print |

7 Responses

  1. The ultraorthodox traditionally held a very powerful role politically in Israeli politics as their coalitions with the Likud ensured copious seats in the Israeli cabinet while simultaneously keeping the Labor party and its allies from controlling the Israeli prime minister’s seat.

    That enviable position ended with the election of the Yesh Atid party of Yair Lapid, who campaigned heavily against the privileges granted the ultraorthodox community, and allowed Netanyahu to dump the ultraorthodox political parties, led by Shas and United Torah Judaism, from his coalition. Part of the fallout was the conscription exemption controversy as to the ultraorthodox community coming to a head and these Haredi attempting to successfully protest to retain this exemption.

    It is now estimated, however, that Yesh Atid would receive only about half the Knesset seats they currently hold if elections were held today in Israel. Yair Lapid’s popularity has, likewise, plummeted.

  2. It’s important to appreciate that at Israel’s founding in 1948, ultra-Orthodox “society ‘was very different…It was a normal working society,’ similar to the rest of the Jewish population. The fertility rate was about the same….To get married, a man had to leave [religious school] and find work….Israel’s present-day version of ultra-Orthodoxy is a creation of the Jewish state.” In 2000, an Israeli newspaper published pictures showing ultra-Orthodox men at work in New York. “For the Israeli audience, photos of gainfully employed [ultra-Orthodox] men — a private detective, a truck driver… — were news on the level of man bites elephant.”
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  3. If the Haredim are Jews and not Israelites, (4:26), then why are they voting and serving in the Israeli Parliament? If some one says he is not an Israeli, then he should refuse money from the Israeli state.

    • On a religious level, the Haredim do not see the State of Israel as legitimate without a Messiah. They nevertheless feel that their presence in the region makes them closer to their religious identity.

      Orthodox Jews, on the other hand, see 1967 as a momentous year when the West Bank was received by the State of Israel and that their presence on that conquered region redeems them. Their ranks formed the bulk of the membership in the Gush Emunim settler movement that was prevalent in the 1970s and 80s.

  4. Interesting. Conservatives in the US would call these folks “takers” and “welfare queens and kings” and “useless eaters.” How do the Haredim get to be categorized as “conservative,” even “ultra-conservative,” again? One gets some interesting results and maybe insights if one googles “haredi fraud,” doesn’t one? Not too many “freiers” in that bunch…

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