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Saturday, January 04, 2014 

Steve Kramer explains why many Israelis now consider Haredis chutzpadik

Local writer Steve Kramer wrote in the San Diego Jewish World why a lot of Israelis have come to consider the Haredi community such a problem:
Mainstream Israelis deeply resent that most haredim follow their chosen lifestyle dependent on financial input from the government and handouts and, adding insult to injury, shun mandatory military service. I, for example, don’t care if haredi men want to pursue lifelong study of Torah at yeshivas, but I do object to having to subsidize their choice. I don’t care that haredi schools do not teach secular subjects that would prepare their students to join the workplace, but I do resent financially supporting that educational network and the poor families that are its result. I do care that many Israelis (especially privileged ones) find ways to avoid military service, but the only community that makes shunning the army a badge of honor is the haredim.

Of course, I’m generalizing. The haredim have many wonderful qualities, especially volunteering, sharing, and helping to preserve the Jewish religion. Many haredi wives work, despite having large families. Some of the men have jobs and study Torah in their spare time. There are military-age youth who volunteer for the army (but are ridiculed and sometimes even attacked in their neighborhoods). In all cases, the percentage who participates in the workforce and the army is much lower than that of the average Israeli. (In workforce participation, the least likely Israelis to join the workforce are haredi men and Arab women.)
While women working in itself can be a positive thing, this does bring up something I'd noticed that's troubling: in Haredi society, there do seem to be quite a few "Mr. Moms" and if the dads are going to set such a potentially poor example, while the moms don't give enough attention to their children as mothers, that can be a negative that's got to be fixed.

Commenting on the Haredi leaders who wanted to lead a mass protest against army recruitment, he notes:
One of the leading rabbis of the haredi “Shas” political party, Rabbi Moshe Shafir, warned of “anarchy” or “chaos” if haredim lose their exemption from army service. (Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion gave the original military exemption to a small number of yeshiva students shortly after Israel’s independence, never dreaming that the number of exemptions would become thousands per year.)

Shafir said (July, 2012), “Not one haredi will enlist without the authorization of the rabbis. We’ll devote our lives to the Torah at any price.” Shafir warned of mass ultra-Orthodox demonstrations and said, “lawsuits in the UN and the international courts, such as those filed by Israel’s Left, will be effective.” He also warned that the haredim may resort to a “tax revolt” and launch strikes that will “make spaghetti of your country.” Shafir also warned of a mass haredi exodus “which will gradually turn you [non-haredi Jews] into a minority in the face of an Arab majority.” (www.ynet.news.com)

Does Rabbi Shafir imagine that there is another country that would welcome a mass influx of Jews who demand rights without earning them? Good luck with that!
Actually, I've got a hunch the UK in its current state of mind might welcome them, and some Arab/Islamic countries might too. Regardless of that, it's sure telling when a so-called rabbi like him makes such a bald-faced statement that he doesn't give a damn about Israel.

Just recently, the queen of England announced she was going to reward the son of an erstwhile UTJ member, and they said:
The British government has shown “warmth and [a] supportive attitude” toward the haredim, he said.

British Ambassador Mathew Gould said that Schapira’s work has “helped us build a friendship and understanding between Britain and the haredi community.
Gee, what's so special about them that isn't so much about most other sectors of Israeli society? How come they qualify but not someone of National Religious background? A facinating question indeed, and the answer might be that they see isolationist Haredis as perfect allies in their own bias against Israel.

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