Most Jews would agree that education is a fundamental Jewish value. I personally don’t know any Jewish people who don’t put a strong emphasis on education for both themselves and their kids. Unfortunately, however, the leaders of the Haredi factions that are currently part of the Israel’s governing coalition don’t see it this way, which is why they demanded that the requirement for students in Haredi schools to study core subjects, like math, science and English in exchange for government funding be removed.  This demand was part of the coalition agreement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed with the Haredi parties in order to get them to join his coalition (see: Core subject requirements for ultra-Orthodox educational institutions to be cancelled).

By insisting that Haredi schools receive government funding without any commitment to teaching core subjects, the Haredi parties are basically implying that their people should have no obligation to contribute to the economic life of Israeli society.  Hence, Haredi students will not learn anything that would prepare them for the job market.  All they’ll be able to do is pray and study religious texts, which means that they likely won’t get jobs and that other Israelis will have to put more of their tax dollars towards subsidizing their unproductive way of life.

I know I speak for many Israelis when I say that I’m tired of seeing so many Haredim not being gainfully employed while at the same sucking at the teat of the Israeli taxpayer. And I certainly don’t buy the old Haredi argument that praying alone is a meaningful contribution to Israeli society. There are many religious Zionists in the country who contribute immensely to the State of Israel and yet they still find plenty of time to pray and study. Why should the Haredim be any different?