Debate Magazine

Ultra-Orthodox Slackers

Posted on the 08 November 2011 by Cris

Israel has an ultra-Orthodox problem. Males born into haredi families can look forward to the following:

  • Exempted from military service;
  • Exempted from work or employment;
  • Arranged marriage at very young age;
  • Supported by working wife; and
  • Supported by working parents.

The “job” of ultra-Orthodox males in Israel appears to consist of two things: inseminate wife and study Torah. While they are considered “scholars,” these studies don’t include math, science, languages, and humanities. It isn’t scholarship when the only thing studied is Jewish religion.

Ultra-Orthodox Slackers

While Gershom Gorenberg characterizes this as an “economic disaster” in his new book The Unmaking of Israel, the cultural and political implications are more profound. When non-working radicals out-reproduce the rest of the population, bad things happen.


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