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Killing hareidism with patronizing paternalistic kindness

16 0 2

Or, Why the Ultra-Orthodox aren’t rushing to embrace Israel’s new minister of religious services and how it fits into the Hanukkah story.

It might seem baffling to many Israelis—even some religious Jews—that the Ultra-Orthodox are rejecting Matan Kahana’s revolutionary reforms. He would seem to check all the right boxes: he is religious, committed to a strictly Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law, and wants to promote the Jewish character of the State of Israel. Founding editor of the Times of Israel David Horovitz, in a recent Op-Ed asserted that the only way to explain the words and actions of the hareidi politicians who are trying to stymie Kahana’s agenda is by ascribing to them the worst of motivations: to maintain oppressive control over their constituents at their own expense.

Kahana and the liberal media assume they know for certain that these reforms can only benefit the hareidi population. After all, what could be wrong with decentralizing the chief rabbinate and giving more authority to local councils to decide standards of kashrut and conversion? What’s wrong with lowering the age at which hareidi young men can enter the workforce without having to serve in the IDF? What’s wrong with providing incentives to help hareidi families out of poverty and encourage integration into the wider Israeli society?

To those like Matan Kahana, all these reforms have to be positive because they are loosening the grip of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis and politicians, and they more effectively address the material needs of the hareidi community. Hence, any attempt to stymie these reforms must be out of the malicious will of the hareidi politicians to keep their constituents poor and in constant need of hareidi political leverage to receive all their exemptions and benefits.

Well think again, because there is an entirely different way of looking at the situation.

Let us begin with the issue of lowering the age to be exempt from the draft from 21 to 24, which arguably will have the largest impact on hareidi society.

Mr. Horovitz in his Op-Ed was quite candid and specific about what kind of long-term ‘benefits’ this particular reform is intended to have on the average hareidi........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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