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Secular Israel senses threat in rise of the ultra-orthodox
05-24-2010, 01:06 AM,
#1
Secular Israel senses threat in rise of the ultra-orthodox
Quote:Secular Israel senses threat in rise of the ultra-orthodox

By Tobias Buck in Jerusalem

Published: May 22 2010 03:00 | Last updated: May 22 2010 03:00

Night has fallen over the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Mea Shearim, but few are finding much rest. Curses and shouts ring out in narrow streets still littered with broken glass and other debris from hours of rioting. The stench of burning rubbish hangs in the air, as policemen and protesters glower at each other.

This area, not far from the Old City, is normally tranquil. Home to several thousand members of Israel's ultra-orthodox min-ority, Mea Shearim often seems defiantly to reject the trappings of modern life. There are few cars, no bars, no loud music, no short skirts. Men wear black or golden coats, traditional hats and long beards and spend most of their day in religious study.

But now night after night police have been deployed to face down angry protesters who curse them as Nazis and hurl bottles and stones. The police have responded with baton charges, water cannon and dozens of arrests.

The clashes were triggered by a seemingly innocent government decision to relocate ancient Jewish graves in the city of Ashkelon to expand a hospital. Residents of Jerusalem know, however, that it does not take much to spark the outrage of the ultra-orthodox. In the past year alone, the opening of a municipal car park on the Sabbath and a move by Intel, the US computer chipmaker, to operate its local plant on the day of rest have led to violent protests.

What has set the most recent riots apart is not the behaviour of the ultra-orthodox, but the backlash from Israel's political and social mainstream. But secular and moderately religious Israelis have come to see the ultra-orthodox as an economic and social threat - and politicians are starting to echo those concerns.

"Usually, Israeli politics is all about the peace process. But now people are beginning to ask questions about this important topic. People can no longer look aside," says Shahar Ilan, an expert on the ultra-orthodox community and vice-president of Hiddush, a group advocating "religious freedom and equality".

The tensions also pose a challenge to Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, whose government coalition includes ultraorthodox parties but who will also be aware of the rising secular anger.

The ultra-orthodox have always had a troubled relationship with Israel. A minority - no more than 10 per cent, according to one estimate - reject the secular Jewish state as a religious abomination and refuse to vote or pay taxes. Some even burn the Israeli flag on independence day.

But most ultra-orthodox Israelis, while troubled by what they regard as secular excesses - such as showing films on the Sabbath and annual gay pride marches - still see the state as a force for good. Ultra-orthodox parties are often part of the government, giving the community political and economic influence.

The tensions are as old as the Jewish state itself. Mostly, however, the two sides have kept to an intricate set of live-and-let-live agreements that grant authority over many social and religious questions to the ultra-orthodox. Crucially, the ultra-orthodox have their own stream of schools, and those studying in a yeshiva , or Jewish seminary, are exempt from military service.

But that deal is starting to unravel because of a sharp increase in the ultra-orthodox population. Once a tiny minority, the community today accounts for at least 8 per cent of the Israeli adult population. It is forecast to double every 16 years. In Jerusalem more than half the Jewish children attending primary school hail from ultra-orthodox families.

A survey by Israel's Taub Centre for Social Policy Studies highlighted the economic consequences: almost two-thirds of ultra-orthodox men do not work, meaning that a rapidly increasing share of the population depends on state welfare.

Many ultra-orthodox schools refuse to teach the core curriculum, so thousands of pupils grow up with only a rudimentary knowledge of maths and none of other sciences, foreign languages or non-religious history.

"The great majority of ultra-orthodox men are not able to work in most vocations in the modern world. They are very much dependent on government support - and that has aggravated a lot of people," says Menachem Friedman, a professor at Bar Ilan -university.

The ultra-orthodox are coming to be seen as a heavy burden. Calls for reform of their schools are growing, as are demands to draft yeshiva students into the army.

Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv, declared earlier this month that the state must act against "insulated and ignorant sectors which are increasing at a frightening speed and are jeopardising our political and financial strength".

According to Mr Ilan, the tensions will increase. The next Israeli election, he argues, "will be fought on the subject of religion and the state".

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a7b2bbd8-6539-11df-b648-00144feab49a.html
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05-24-2010, 01:45 AM,
#2
RE: Secular Israel senses threat in rise of the ultra-orthodox
They're just figuring this shit out now? Didn't they vote the fuckers in? What, are they suffering from buyer's remorse? As I recall, the Zionist fuckers' victory wasn't exactly a close one.

Quote:"Usually, Israeli politics is all about the peace process. But now people are beginning to ask questions about this important topic. People can no longer look aside,"

Bullshit.

This is an attempt to make the Zionist fucks in power look less radical. I'm sure that these "angry protesters" are the same as the fucking pigs that infiltrate anarchist groups and start throwing rocks through windows so that the police can then beat them mercilessly and arrest them.

Quote:whose government coalition includes ultraorthodox parties

Coalition INCLUDES? the ultraorthodox? Nothin'butayahoo is ultraorthodox!

They're trying to push the political spectrum to the right, just like they've managed to do so well in the US.
[Image: conspiracy_theory.jpg]
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