The headlines were not encouraging.
Britain faces recession and 10pc inflation as interest rates rise (The Telegraph 5 May 2022)
And to make it quite clear there are four charts that show Britain’s looming economic disaster – their words not mine. It would seem that Britain is not a place to keep your money.
Meanwhile, in Israel, our economy is growing. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, is optimistic. The Israel Economic Snapshot states:
Economic activity rebounded strongly in 2021 and GDP is projected to grow robustly by 6.3 percent in 2021, 4.9% in 2022 and 4% in 2023.
At least the UK will not face a freeze, financial or otherwise. The Met Office is predicting a heatwave with temperatures reaching 23 degrees. Yes, in England, 23 degrees is a heatwave.
We ask ourselves why there are still some 275,000 Jews left in the UK. The majority of British Jews will be ultra-orthodox by the end of the century. Today, while “ordinary” Jewish women manage around two children, the orthodox birth rate is seven children per woman.
Many years ago, the UK’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, said it very clearly:
“The two fastest-growing elements in the Jewish world are those who embrace the world and reject Judaism, and those who embrace Judaism and reject the world.”
Worryingly, for us non-Orthodox Israelis, is the prediction that nearly 1 in 4 Israelis will be ultra-Orthodox by 2050. This will be a dramatic increase from today’s 12.6% of the population.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with a large ultra-Orthodox community, providing they take their fair share of the obligation of citizens in both the Defense Forces and gainful employment. However, there is no reason why we non-Orthodox Israelis should both protect them and feed them.
Without too much thought of the future, David Ben-Gurion allowed some 400 yeshiva students to avoid military service. Menachem Begin, in 1977, compounded this mistake when he exempted all ultra-Orthodox men. The original 400 exemptions have now ballooned to more than 11,000 a year.
With my grandchildren’s entry to the Defense Forces just over the horizon, I hope and expect that they will be joined by children from the ultra-Orthodox community. It will be an opportunity for them to meet and understand each other. And, in a perfect world, they will be joined by immigrants looking for a better life than they have in Great Britain.