Losing the Secular Public

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13 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    If we’ve lost Yemini and Gordon, we’ve gone a long way towards losing any chance of convincing secular Israelis of the justice of our position.
    ==================================
    Please expand on this a bit – is it that the position is just and it’s the pr tactics that need rethinking, or does the position itself need rethinking?
    KT

  2. Ori says:

    In reaching that conclusion, the Court noted that the religious groups in question are, in general, law-abiding citizens almost never found on the welfare roles. Few secular Israelis look at the chareidi community in the same way.

    Are Israeli Charedim almost never found on the welfare rolls? Freedom implies an ability to deal with the consequences of your choices. Being on welfare means you cannot or will not deal with the economic consequences of your choices.

    He does not claim that the majority of chareidim support the rioting, only that the violent minority of chareidim will dictate to the majority and from there to the larger society. He concludes with a call on Israel’s political leaders to act quickly to curtail chareidi autonomy, including our educational system.

    If you’re going to be autonomous, you need to police your own people. Otherwise, somebody will have to police them for you and you won’t like it.

  3. David says:

    “In Yoder vs. Wisconsin, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Free Exercise Clause of the United States constitution prevented Wisconsin from enforcing its mandatory school attendance laws against religious groups who opposed education for those over 14. In reaching that conclusion, the Court noted that the religious groups in question are, in general, law-abiding citizens almost never found on the welfare roles. Few secular Israelis look at the chareidi community in the same way.”

    Of course secular Israelis won’t see the charedim the same way. The charedim aren’t asking to be excused from schooling past the age of 14, but rather that the tax payers support their privately-run institutions, many (most?) of which do not teach allegiance to the state, and most of which do not prepare the students for a career. This is a terrible comparison.

  4. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    R. Yonasan, if the last sentence of your article is true, then what are the options for the chareidi public? I think one possible move would be for the gedolim to come to an arrangement with the government to have “sherut leumi mishpachti” for the chareidi community. Single chareidim of both sexes would have deferments from national service and would then serve as families by living for 3-5 years in a development area doing a certain number of hours of community service a week. It could be social work, kiruv work, tutoring kids for bar mitzvah, working with problem kids. The general community has to see that chareidi society is committed to doing something for Klal Yisrael in a way that is understandable to them. Those who do Nachal Chareidi or Sherut Leumi can continue to do them, but there has to be an option for guys to be able to stay in kollel and for girls to go straight from their parental home to marriage and still be on record as doing something for the greater society. If every person in the chareidi camp who does something good for the general society is considered a man-bites-dog story, we lose. The chareidi camp has to change its PR image without sacrificing ideals.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    Are those who lead any communities that encourage—or intentionally fail to control—their youthful rioters responsive to any outside advice whatsoever? If not, any dissatisfaction we express about these riots will have little or no impact.

    On the other hand, if outsiders such as we in America can have some positive influence on these leaders, what is that and how can we make it happen? We’re well past the time when merely identifying or detailing a problem in an article is enough.

  6. Garnel Ironheart says:

    As my father always says, if the Chareidi public would spend half the energy they put into convincing others of their religious superiority into gemilus chesed towards the secular population, they would not have to worry about negative PR anymore.

  7. mycroft says:

    Probably the worst thing that ever happened to Yahadus is religious parties-similar disasters have happened to others when they get political power. In the UK it is not the Anglican Church which is growing and respected. In Latin America it is not the Catholic Church that is respected. In Israel since 1948 the number of Mizrachi and Agudah members of Knesset have remained relatively stable.

  8. Jonathan Rosenblum says:

    While I’m sure the senior Ironheart has many incisive things to say, this particular one does not make the grade. One of the few areas, outside of Torah scholarshp, in which chareidim have uncontestably distinguished themselves is in chesed activities directed to the entire Israeli population. Almost every major volunteer or medical organization in Israel was founded by chareidim.

  9. Ori says:

    Bob Miller: On the other hand, if outsiders such as we in America can have some positive influence on these leaders, what is that and how can we make it happen? We’re well past the time when merely identifying or detailing a problem in an article is enough.

    Ori: Are these communities self-financing? If not, how much of their money comes from donations from the US? Unfortunately, the leaders are probably pretty well insulated. It would be their followers who will suffer from the lack of donations. But when they see their followers going without, and thinking if they should follow somebody else instead, the leaders will likely rethink their position.

    It’s sad that the mostly innocent followers will suffer. But it would even sadder if the secular Israelis decided enough is enough and started fighting against Charedi autonomy. They wouldn’t make distinctions between different Charedi groups.

  10. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding the comment by Ori — August 25, 2009 @ 11:56 am:

    Financial pressure on this type of decision-making is overrated. I’m looking for something else.

  11. Ori says:

    Bob Miller: Financial pressure on this type of decision-making is overrated. I’m looking for something else.

    Ori: I assume these communities have their own Halachic authorities. You need to convince these authorities, or the ones they listen to, that this is serious and they have to deal with it.

    I don’t think this can be done remotely. The only way it could be done is by hurting some kind of critical interest. This will not happen unless either the leaders are afraid of losing the secular public, or they are suffering the consequences of losing it.

  12. dr. bill says:

    lu yehi, it was just a fringe group. my opinions are not based on the actions of lunatics in Beit Shemesh or leidegayer protesting parking lots. OTOH those who signed statements about the mother and endorsed the accusations against the hospital are hardly part of the fringe.

  13. Ori says:

    If you can read Hebrew, you can read another column by Yemini. I think it gives a better explanation of his problem with Charedim.

    The demographics show Israel is going to be majority Charedi/Arab in the next generation or the one after that. Yemini is afraid such an Israel would either not be viable, or become a poor 3rd world country.

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