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Friday, 22 March 2013

Ultra Lazy

I once wrote about the ultra Orthodox Jews who were exempt from National Army service and lived off welfare benefits in Israel ... they were the fastest growing group in the country and threatened its very existence (with predictions that they would make up 20 % of the population by the end of the decade) .... well in one of those strange quirks of fate that seem to haunt 'peoples of destiny' they may be in for a very rude awakening.

After decades of being in government (as part of various coalitions and alliances), the recent election has thrown up a centre right alliance which is largely secular, and has excluded the 'ultras' their say in government .... one of the new parties who have joined the alliance, insisted that the ultra Orthodox exemption from the Army be revoked and that they no longer be eligible for state handouts if they don't want to work.

Ultra Orthodox Jews Argue With Non Orthodox Jews

Many middle-class Israelis support the change. "We have a growing sector in the Jewish majority who are not productive economically, they do not take part in civic operations and even have an ideology of looking after themselves not the state," says Dan Avnon, a politics professor at Hebrew University. This echoes the comments of Yair Lapid (leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party) who has said that "This has generated a lot of resentment. It came to a crisis point because Israel has financial strains. Now this is something that will change, it seems, over the next few years."

Apparently this change will start with the state subsidies to Jewish seminaries being cut and ultra Orthodox schools forced to include non-religious subjects in their core curricula ..... hmm we will see about that last part.

As we have remarked before these ultra groups are hardline, violently noisy (with accusations of physical assaults on women), and they are not going to take this lying down (which is ironic for a group who won't work) .... they have already issued statement condemning the alliance partners and the terms underpinning it ..... MP Rabbi Nissim Zeev of the 'Shas' party said that "The reason they got together was just to remove the ultra-Orthodox parties from the coalition. This is really very ugly." ... however its not likely that he and his hat wearing friends will have to wait long ..... the coalition is unlikely to be as stable as the last one (In power for four years) with many predicting that it will not last for more than two years.

Then the Mad Hatter will shout 'time for tea', and all the seats will be rearranged, with every possibility that the ultra's will be back as 'King Makers', and back on welfare again.

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