WTF is up with the ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel?

So they are now subject to the same burdens of citizenship as everyone else (including garden variety orthodox jews) and they threaten rebellion and violence:

“They warned that the possibility exists that the arrest of yeshiva students could lead to civil rebellion against enlistment, violent protests and a decree from the leading haredi rabbis banning enlistment.”

IIRC, most of the really obnoxious racist stuff that Israel is guilty of has frequently been laid at the feet of these guys who exert extraordinary political influence despite being a small minority.

How the heck did Israel ever work up the nerve to finally cross these guys?

How the heck did these guys get so politically powerful to begin with?

The way it used to be was that the two major political parties in Israel each had about 48% of the vote, and thus 48% of the Knesset. The ultra-orthodox parties had about 3%, and thus, by forming a coalition with one part or the other, could choose which party actually formed the government.

Thus, each party had to offer the U-O parties anything they wanted. It was a bidding war of the lowest form. Purest political prostitution.

Has that changed? Has one party obtained enough of an edge that they no longer need the U-O extremists to govern? That would be a huge relief. It would mean an end to the de-facto political tyranny of the extremists.

It would be no surprise, of course, for them to be outraged at the loss of their disproportionate power.

(This is why I have never had any respect at all for the idea of “proportional representation” as a system for the U.S. to adopt. It can lead to too much control being given to very small minority parties, who can provide the swing votes for coalition-building.)

It is not so simple. There are many different political parties in the Knesset.

The U-O follow the Rabbi’s orders on every aspect of their lives. This includes voting in the elections. So, the U-O have 2 or 3 parties (ideology differences), and the U-O population votes en-mass to these parties, as the “chief-rabbi” declares. This way they have more than their share in the population.

In the current situation, the coalition in composed of several parties, non of which is U-O. The U-O parties are in the opposition. However, the political leaders in the secular parties realize that they may need said parties in future elections… and so they try not to irritate them too much.

Good. About fucking time.

A couple questions maybe someone could answer for me:

  1. According to this article, it only affects heredi men. Are there no heredi women?

  2. Doesn’t Israel have a program called Hesder that the U-O men could join to keep up their studies?

  3. What exactly is/are the U-O’s objection/s to service (and how does that reconcile with the threat of violent protests)?

  1. All religious women - and not just Haredim - are exempt from service (although many choose to serve). It’s another thing that needs to be corrected, IMHO, but it’s not on the table right now.

  2. The Hesder Yeshivas (another institution I have a problem with) are part of the Religious Zionist movement, not Haredi. Completely different people.

  3. Their objections are legion - that we’re suppressing their faith and destroying the “world of Torah”, that the Army is full of gentiles and whores waiting to corrupt the purehearted Yeshiva boys, that they’re already in “God’s army” and thus their service is far more important than any secular soldier, that they shouldn’t be forced to serve the hated Zionist state, and more. What it really means is that they’re fucking parasites and have no intention of being anything else.

IMHO, of course.

… Haredi hate the Zionist state? Isn’t that kind of like killer whales opposing Greenpeace?

Thanks Alessan, that cleared it up for me!

Despite the fact that their entire lifestyle, and in many cases actual lives, are dependent on the existence of Israel, the Haredim are expressly *not *Zionists. In fact, they often use the word as an insult.


Religious Jews were always opposed to the foundation of Israel - before the Messiah comes, at least. The Religious-Zionist movement is a relatively new development from no more than 50 years ago. Their twist on religious doctrine is that the existence of Israel - on all of its ancient land, natch - will be the catalyst for the Messiah’s arrival.

Us secular Jews just think that God will do what He wants, and we’ll look after ourselves.

“There’s no doubt, the Mizrahi [a term for religious Zionism] is the big enemy of Judaism, the hatred of the rabble for the Torah scholar”

Wow!!! The rabble? Really? Is there some sort of mistranslation going on here?

These are the guys that have been driving israel’s policy for the last few decades? It explains a lot. If they have so much contempt for their fellow Jews and Israelites, its no wonder they treat Palestinians the way they do.

Do they believe that G-d should bring about the nation of Israel, not men, or have I again misremembered my Telushkin?

That’s still their official position, although it varies between the different Haredi sub-communities. In general, the Ashkenazic Haredim tend to be more severe on this matter (and many others) than the Sephardic Haredim.

You are confusing - both here and in your OP - two very different groups of people, i.e. right wing settlers and UO Jews.

Yes, I have heard of this sentiment before as well - “most Jews are fit for fighting, and the others are only fit for praying”.

So the guys that voted to conscript UO Jews are also supporting the settlements?

More or less.

The core of the settlers movement is religious ultra-Zionists. The UO are ultra-religious but range from non-Zionist to anti-Zionist. Meaning they either wouldn’t object to or would actively prefer to have Arabs run the country (at least ideologically - I don’t know how that would be affected by today’s realities). In sum, it’s completely separate groups, who don’t necessarily think highly of each other. And their very different attitudes to Zionism accounts for part (though not nearly all) of the difference in their attitudes towards military service.

The party that represents the settlers these days would be the Bayit Yehudi party, which is strongly in favor of drafting the UO into the army.

What are “Torah Scholars” primarily doing? I get that they are studying the Torah, but are they primarily working to memorize it and internalize its principles or are they producing new scholarship? E.g. are there yeshiva students right now working through dissertations on what would happen if a Jew unintentionally drinks from a bottle of milk that had been adulterated by a naughty farm worker who had exposed it to pig meat? E.g. would the drinker be guilty of a sin, and if it were a sin, what the necessary prayers would be for proper repentance?

We don’t have the same concept of sin as Christians.
The Hebrew word is “chate”, an archery term meaning “to miss the mark.”
We did something wrong, and should go about repairing it.