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Open Letter to the Next Generation: The Opportunity of Calamity

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07.04.2020

Israeli politicians did not invent the term “keep ‘em barefoot and pregnant,” but they have surely turned it into an art form. Merging heightened cynicism towards their voters with love of self that knows no limits, for decades they have been leading Israel along a socioeconomic trajectory that heads straight for the iceberg. Their names may change from decade to decade and they hail from all corners of the political map, but cynicism and narcissism are the dominant characteristics of Israeli politicians who have successfully eviscerated all attempts by persons of a different creed – there were some, and there still are – trying to correct the ship’s course before it’s too late.

Though the current epidemic is just a preview of future social cataclysms facing Israel, the aftershock also provides an opportunity for a pivot in Israel’s priorities before it’s too late.

Within the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) community there are many who do understand – too late, when they’re already adults – the need for an education beyond Torah. But although the number of Haredim who embark on academic study has significantly increased, that fact crashes into the wall of reality: the majority of women (53%) and men (76%) have to drop out, according to the State Comptroller’s office, because of the appallingly low level of education that they received as children. When their leaders deprive them of a core curriculum (a denial that is illegal in every other developed country), there should be no surprise when the share of Haredi academics in Israel is just half of the share of academics among American Haredim. When their leaders deny them access to the non-Haredi world that provides their health, security and higher education needs, how can anyone be surprised when so many good people fall by the wayside without understanding who’s responsible for keeping them in the dark, completely vulnerable to any health, economic and security crisis?

Moreover, the same Haredi leadership ensures that they remain eternally dependent and unable to escape by via merciless social pressure, made possible by directing huge amounts of the limited public money through coalition agreements, ensuring that what is today will remain so forever.

The Arab-Israeli population is in desperate need of better schools, a significant reduction in the........

© Haaretz