Israel’s Own Version of the Taliban

Un groupe de Haredim (des hassidim, d'après le...

Peaceful enough, for now...

The only difference between Islamic radicals and Israeli radicals is the names they wear.  The Israelis have their own Taliban, their own version of the hate-spewing Westboro Baptist Church, even if they do name themselves something else.

Demographers now estimate about a third of last year’s Jewish babies were born into the ultra-Orthodox community, an insular and devout minority that has long been at loggerheads with the rest of the increasingly modern and prosperous country.  Ultra-Orthodox Jews – known in Hebrew as “Haredim,” or “those who tremble” before God – have a birthrate far higher than that of other Israeli Jews, with 10 children in a single family not uncommon. They seem poised to become far more numerous and influential.  Relations between Haredim and other Israelis have never been smooth. Critics have long complained that they shun work in large numbers in favor of religious study, rejecting mainstream Israel even as they rely on that mainstream for financial support.  But increasingly, even some Haredim share a sense that things cannot continue as they are.  “The Haredim have set up a state within a state and have a long conflict with the state of Israel, which is now on the eve of an explosion,” said Kobi Arieli, a popular radio host and author from the liberal edge of the Haredi community. “There is no chance that this situation will continue.”

These people are dangerous.  And they are extremists.  And they will eventually attempt to assert their will over the entire population, just as the Taliban of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other locales have.  In a few short years Israel will look very much like Pakistan.

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One thought on “Israel’s Own Version of the Taliban

  1. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert 14 Jan 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I think this is very unfair Jim! The Haredim are problematic, but this is more theology and ideology. They deserve their freedom and ideas like the rest of the Israeli democracy.


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