TEL AVIV—Israel is struggling to contain a concentration of coronavirus infections among ultraorthodox Jews, with the impact reaching Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who went into isolation after an adviser from the community tested positive.
Mr. Netanyahu’s office said on Monday evening that his test for the virus, as well as those of his family and close staff, came out negative, though officials said he would remain in isolation as a precaution in keeping with ministry of health guidelines.
While the ultraorthodox make up about 10% of Israel’s population, ultraorthodox patients account for 50% of those hospitalized with the coronavirus disease, Covid-19, according to an analysis by Israel’s Channel 12. Continue reading
Valid Point, Ultra-Orthodox May be Derogatory. Thanks for the Clarification – But Which Jew is the “Other”?
We have been using the term Ultra-Orthodox since this blog’s inception, primarily because Hared, Haredi or plural Haredim are Hebrew words; and because knowing the difference between those who view themselves as “Hasidim” and those who do not is simply too hard to define. We have not intentionally been trying to offend, demean or place any group into the category of an “other”. When we have referred to radical – we have used the term “radical” or “fundamentalist”.
However, the point of the opinion below, posted in the NY Times is very valid and we thank Avi Shafran for pointing out something many of us did not know. We also apologize for the offense.
As to his comments about the “bloc” however, we beg to disagree. The Haredi community tends to vote as a bloc, at least in Rockland County, New York, Lakewood, New Jersey, London, England, throughout Israel, and in other areas where there are a large population of Haredim living together. The numbers speak to that point. We therefore believe that to take offense to the term “bloc” is hyper-sensitive. A voting bloc is a function of mathematics and nothing more. That said, we are not Haredim so far be it for us to judge; and we will do our best to respect the sensitivity.
There is one thing we would like to point out to Mr. Shafran, for whom we have the utmost respect. The Haredim have chosen to live together in highly exclusionary communities. For the most part in areas like New Square, New York, and Kiryas Joel (n/k/a Palm Tree, New York) outsiders are wholly and entirely unwelcome into those communities. The people who have chosen to make a modern-day Shtetl out of a community cannot then complain about the lens from which the “outsiders” – everyone else – view them, namely as others. That is not anti-Semitic. It is a function of feeling like a bean in a bag of rice. Moreover, many of us feel an non-Haredi subtle “otehrness.”
Aaron Wieder – The Political ShowmanUsing His Platform as a Means to Divide Not Bridge Gap, This is Not Living Together – it is Inciting Hatred!
We call upon the media, Jewish groups – the Jewish Federation of Rockland, the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, the JCC Federation, the Federation of Rabbis and others to stop supporting this firebrand voice for hatred, to speak out against it, to be vocal and active on behalf of all Jews.
Aron Wieder is indulging in rabble-rousing and muckracking. He is antagonistic and aggressive and vicious.
He is not a representative for Jews unless he is trying to create a community based and founded in a deep and underlying hatred. He creates a justification. Someone needs to curb his behavior and state in no uncertain terms that he does not represent the best Rockland County has to offer for everyone. The community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and non-religious can live together peacefully; but not if this man is the face of Judaism, and the very worst it has to offer.
In our previous article we note the alliance created by an anti-Zionist and very radical Jewish community, which is far more rational than Wieder and his brand of deep-seeded racist hatred. Again, we call upon rational minds to stand up and say, “ENOUGH.” We call upon Rockland County’s Dems to set aside party lines and to think rationally. Aron Wieder has the power to single-handedly leave Rockland and the greater Jewish community in ruins, not because anti-Semitism exists or existed but because he epitomizes hatred and divisiveness.
Get your heads out of the sand.
Rockland County Legislature
James Foley, who was elected into office on a platform promising to confront the Ramapo political leadership, will be in attendance at his first legislative meeting on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:00pm.
Legislator Aron Wieder has now twice used the floor of the County Legislature to attack Legislator Foley while simultaneously claiming to want to mend fences and work together. We expect further childish antics from Legislator Wieder at this evening’s meeting and we therefore encourage residents to come out in force to show Legislator Wieder he needs to respect the will of Rockland’s voters who elected his nemesis into office.
If Legislator Wieder truly wants to put his past behind and begin working toward resolving the very real issues we face, we suggest that he drop the antics and begin a cooperative and productive discussion on development, code enforcement, and respecting the rights of others.
But we won’t hold our breath waiting for that to happen. This video of a recent Public Safety Committee meeting shows firsthand the public stunts that lead us to feel this way.
After all, Wieder has proven to be nothing more than a showman time and time again…..
A Commentary about the Inextricable Link between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, a Follow Up to Tuesday’s Opinion Piece and the Opinion of Hen Mazzig
We are republishing an article that was posted yesterday, without the permission of the author. We will take it down if asked, or cut back what we have posted. We direct you to watch the video by clicking the below link and also to view Hen Mazzig’s article in its original iteration by clicking here.
We wholeheartedly agree that anti-Zionism has a death toll; but think that Mr. Mazzig’s point is an over-simplification of a larger problem: that anti-Semitism is inherently anti-Zionism but the reverse is not always the case, though the two are often confused. Anti-Zionism is dangerous insofar as it does not distinguish between the State of Israel and the Jewish people, nor does it give credence to people who are genuinely critical of the State, not as anti-Zionists; but as non-supporters. Nor does it clearly illustrate that the positions taken by major organizations like the ADL need to be addressed by clear minds to avoid a misunderstood narrative. There is a distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. In addition, Mr. Mazzig’s article does not take into consideration the highly confusing message that anti-Zionist Jews who arguably are not anti-Semitic sent out. Within their anti-Zionist framework they have invariably created a justification by non-Jews to be both anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic and, as a consequence, very dangerous to Jewish identity, both religious and otherwise.
There are Jews and non-Jews who do not support the State of Israel for one reason or another; but do not deem themselves to be anti-Zionists. That term connotes a somewhat active position on the subject. Rather, they disagree with the politics, or disagree with the philosophy or some other aspect of the State of Israel rubs them the wrong way so they simply ignore the entire issue or speak in their academic and political circles about their views. We have heard arguments on both sides and there are valid critiques to be had about the State of Israel.
There are then Jews, as listed in Tuesday’s LM article entitled:
Religious Jews Commiserating with Iran for the Destruction of Israel and Divisive Organizations – The Optics
who are outrightly anti-Zionist, even going as far as praying for Israel’s destruction. They believe that the razing of the State of Israel is a prelude to the coming of the Moshiach (Messiah) and they cannot grasp how corrosive their views are for all Jews. They are the flag-bearers of anti-Semitism, whether they understand that premise or not. It cannot be understated that these fervently religious anti-Zionists are not small in number, are well-funded and are continuously growing.
As discussed in Tuesday’s commentary a large and visible contingent traveled to wide press coverage and extensive, if not somewhat over-the-top, pomp and circumstance to give money to their fellow anti-Israel compatriots living within the State of Israel. They were greeted with a parade and rally upon arrival in Israel. Yet, they espouse the virtues of religious Jews inhabiting the Jewish State allegedly without accepting Israeli state funding or contributing any real benefit in return. They tow the anti-conscription line and the anti-Secular education narrative, both of which will ultimately be the downfall of the State of Israel. And they think not what they can do for their country, only what their country can do for them. Many are dual citizens of Israel and countries throughout the world and at least some collect services from both countries, all the while viewing religious principles first, country a far off second.
SHOCKING TWEETS AND THE OPTICS OF IT ALL… Anti-Semitism
(underlined portion loosely translated)
“We Identify with the hurt of all of the Iranians. We are Jews of the Torah, we pray that Zionist Israel will topple at the first opportunity.”
All Jews Should be Speaking Out About The Voices of Our Own Dissenters, Those Who Wish the Very Destruction of our Jewish Homeland and Those Who Boycott Solidarity Events
This Post is Not-Anti-Semitic, it is Painfully Self-Aware.
The insidious problem of anti-Semitism, with its complicated history and underpinnings, is a problem exacerbated not only by outside forces; but also from within the Jewish community itself. This is not victim-shaming but a series of observations.
Outspoken Jewish organizations that choose to “boycott” events like the Brooklyn Bridge solidarity march prove, in no uncertain terms, that they believe that not all Jews are created equal. Disagreement with the message of one of the sponsors should have been left on one side of the bridge as everyone walked across, to be picked up at a later time and place, if indeed, this was a Jewish solidarity event, uniting us all against anti-Semitism. Otherwise, it is simply an example of the incarnation of hatred within the Jewish community, a poor example if you are trying to unite Jews against a common enemy. Sadly, this same group received widespread coverage as the outspoken face of anti-Semitism and Jewish solidarity; and in reality they were and continue to be anything but.
In Rockland County, New York, as political bigwigs like Kristen Gillebrand, Governor Cuomo and AG Tish James were allegedly “supporting the Jewish battle against anti-Semitism” they were only doing so if that anti-Semitism was directed at the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities. They did not offer to meet with the standard bearer of Judaism, mainstream vocal Jewish and non-Jewish activists within the County. Instead they met with a single contingent, and not one that represents the majority of Rockland’s Jews.
As Jewish Federation of Rockland was voicing its concerns with a rally at the Jewish Community Center, a worthy cause, it was unwilling to address the fundamental concerns of ordinary people whatever the religion within the County. Those concerns are genuine and should not be belittled for the sake of political clout. Rather, those far more eloquent than this writer, have an obligation to come up with solutions to real problems that do not diminish the voices of those who do not provide a financial donation, contribution or political voting bloc.
Prof. Dan Ben David predicts that by 2065, some 35% of Israel’s population will be ultra-Orthodox, compared to its current level of 9% of the population.
Israel is headed for an existential crisis due to the ultra-Orthodox community’s high birthrate, its ability to retain the members of its sector within the ultra-Orthodox fold, and the failure of schools in the sector to provide their pupils with a basic education, a think-tank has argued in a new policy brief.
The brief, authored by Prof. Dan Ben-David of the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research, contends that Israel needs to forget its earlier demographic concern about maintaining a Jewish majority, and instead focus on the severe challenges that it will face over the next half a century, during which time the ultra-Orthodox share of the population will more than triple.
That only a tiny percentage of male ultra-Orthodox high school pupils study the core curriculum subjects such as math, English and science means that Israel’s economy in the future will be unable to sustain its needs for a modern, effective army, Ben-David argues.
According to his findings, some 94% of those who grow up in the ultra-Orthodox community remain ultra-Orthodox as adults.
Of the remainder, 3% become religious-Zionists, 2% become religiously traditional and 1% become secular.
At the other end of the spectrum, secular Israelis also have a high rate of retention of their community, with only 10% of those born secular joining another sector of the population as adults.
According to Ben-David’s study – which uses statistical data from the Central Bureau of Statistics – ultra-Orthodox women have an average birthrate of 7.1 children, compared with just 2.2 for secular Jews, 2.7 for religiously traditional Jews and 4.0 for religious-Zionist Jews. The average birthrate for Muslim women is 3.4 children.
Although the religious-Zionist sector also has a high birthrate, it has low rate of retention of its members, with 45% of its community dropping out of the sector, most of whom become religiously traditional.
According to these figures, Ben-David predicts that by 2065, some 49% of all children in Israel aged 0 to 14 will be ultra-Orthodox, compared with their current level of 19%.
The policy brief notes that the overwhelming majority of male ultra-Orthodox high school aged pupils do not study any core curriculum subjects such as math, English and the sciences.
These pupils, both Ashkenazi and Sephardi, mainly attend what are called yeshivot ketanot and yeshivot gedolot, the equivalent of middle and high school, where only religious studies are taught.
It is estimated that some 80% of male Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox elementary-age pupils attend schools where a minimal core curriculum is taught, although even then it is believed that the requisite hours are not fully taught, and when they are it is to a poor standard.
The Shas-run school network Maayan Hinuch Torani does teach core-curriculum studies, with some 80% of male Sephardi ultra-Orthodox pupils studying in such schools. But the level of these studies is also not thought to be of a high standard.
Efforts to reform primary education in the ultra-Orthodox sector and ensure that schools teach core curriculum subjects were taken by former education minister Shai Piron of Yesh Atid, but various problems, including strong opposition by the ultra-Orthodox parties, meant that most of the reforms were either not implemented or subsequently reversed.
The notion of enforcing the teaching of core curriculum subjects in the yeshivot ketanot and gedolot that ultra-Orthodox boys attend in lieu of high school was not even broached, since the reaction by the ultra-Orthodox leadership and the general population would be so severe.
Ultra-Orthodox girls generally do study the core curriculum since many are expected to support their future husbands economically while they study full-time in yeshiva.
As such, ultra-Orthodox women have a far higher rate of obtainment of higher education qualifications than men, and also have a far higher rate of employment than ultra-Orthodox men.
BEN-DAVID POINTS out that despite recent increases in the number of ultra-Orthodox men and women studying for academic degrees in colleges and universities, the share of working age ultra-Orthodox men with such qualifications has remained the same over the last 15 years, at around 15%, and even declined slightly over the last four years.
Since it is ultra-Orthodox men who have extremely low rates of workforce participation, with just 51% in employment, the figures regarding the failure to increase the share of ultra-Orthodox men with higher education qualifications is of particular concern.
To continue reading click here.