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Friday, November 02, 2012 

Deputy health minister condones laziness for men

In this Haaretz article, the following is told about Haredi politician Yaakov Litzman:
In an interview with TheMarker, Litzman, who is from the ultra-Orthodox United Judaism party, spoke about a range of subjects, including issues of special importance to the Haredim - the ultra-Orthodox. Some secular readers may not like his take on these issues, such as cuts to child allowances (he's against them) and boosting the low workplace participation rate among Haredi men (which he says is not necessary). "Nowhere is it written that males need to work. It's good enough if the wife works," he said. [...]

"On the other hand," Litzman said, referring to the situation in a Haredi Tel Aviv suburb, "Bnei Brak is not afflicted with unemployment. Why? Because one parent works." But when challenged with the fact that only 45% of adult Haredi males are employed (rather than engaging in full-time religious studies ), Litzman said: "Nowhere is it written that males need to work. It's good enough if the wife works."

"It's absurd for everyone to work, because who will educate the children? Who will look after them?" Litzman said. "If you go out onto the street and say that both spouses need to work, everyone would disagree. Such a situation is impossible. Someone has to devote themselves to the children so they are not thrown into the street."
So in other words, men can shirk all the responsibility that biblical Abraham took in agriculture to become the prominent biblical figure he is, and can lazy around only reading Torah with a bewilderingly superficial view of what it's meant to teach. And his argument that somebody needs to teach the kids is muddled too - it's not like they can't find time to do so after work hours, to say nothing of school hours! Umm, where do they send the children for even Torah-based lessons? A yeshiva/ulpana, right? So what's his problem anyway? At the end of the article, he says:
Many state-funded ultra-Orthodox schools don't teach the state's core curriculum [including math, science, English and civics] - something that is seen as a threat to the economic future of the country. When asked about this, Litzman said: "Really? So take myself as an example. I didn't study core subjects. So what? Is that bad? Did [Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Moshe] Gafni [of United Torah Judaism] study core subjects?"
I'm not amused by his answer at all. Without mathematics and geometry, how could we build synagogues and determine the costs? How could the ancient Temples the Western Wall was part of be built? How could Noah build the Ark? I almost feel sorry for him now.
And when it comes to Haredi adult males who engage in religious studies rather than working, Litzman said: "There is an ironclad rule that says someone who wishes to study must study." It's impossible to change that world view, he explained. "If someone wants to work, he can go into the army or wherever he wants. I don't have a problem with that, but you should know that a lot of Haredim do work."
Well at least he's honest enough about that. But to say that the menfolk don't have to work is wrong, and didn't the Lord tell Adam he'd have to work hard for his own living after banishing him and Eve from the Garden of Eden, as related in Genesis 3:19? So what's Litzman trying to prove anyway? All he's done is further enforce everybody's perceptions that people like him are ungrateful and think they have no responsibility to making Israel a prosperous nation. He should really go to school.

Update: speaking of the health ministry, this NY Times article, while sadly containing bias about Israel, does tell of the alarming case of a sex-segregated awards ceremony at the building where a female professor, Channa Maayan, was told she could not speak at the meeting. That even this ministry would be turned into a twisted Haredi vision of what they think should be reality is offensive.

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