The balanced policy:

The key to ultra-Orthodox integration

March 14, 2018 14:27
4 minute read.
ultra-Orthodox Jewis

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man holds a Bible as he protests against a monthly prayer session of the Women of the Wall group at the Western Wall, 2013. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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MOST PEOPLE tend to think of ultra-Orthodox (haredi) society as being closed off and isolationist. Yet over the last few years, this community which numbers more than a million people and represents some 12% of the population in Israel, has been influenced in a variety of ways by the broader Israeli society in which it is situated.

If we look at the lifestyle of haredi Jews in other countries – in the United States, Britain, and Belgium – we see that it is common there for men to work from a relatively young age and not just to study, and that most haredi schools teach core secular subjects as part of their curriculum. These haredi Jews travel on public transport without gender segregation, and some of them go on to pursue higher education at secular institutions. However, the haredi community in Israel has been far more extreme in its separatism, paradoxically, because of the state’s Jewish character. The fact that the haredi parties often play a pivotal role in the formation of government coalitions, has enabled them to consistently garner special state budgets and other forms of support, as well as receive an exemption from military service so that their men can spend years studying in Yeshivas.


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