Charedim – Enough is enough!

First, we submitted to their demands that charedim not be required to undertake military service, because “Torah study is their occupation” and they “die in the tent of Torah”. (I have yet to see their dead in any of our military cemeteries.)

Then large numbers of them refused to introduce core studies into the curricula at their schools, thereby ensuring that most of their children would never be able to obtain gainful employment and support their families.

Then we let them oppose a law that would have prevented them from attempting to change the sexual orientation of their young by psychological means or drug therapy.

Then we enabled them to hold our nation’s political system to ransom by being the king makers in almost every successive government coalition, thereby ensuring that there would be no public transport on Shabbat, no civil marriage or divorce and no equal rights and support for all religious streams.

We gave them control of key positions of power such as the Interior Ministry and the Knesset’s Finance Committee thereby enabling them to hold the nation to ransom.

At the height of the first wave of the coronavirus we allowed them to operate a sky-train to bring large numbers of yeshivah students to Israel from COVID-infested New York.

While our children have had to remain at home and are suffering the educational, social and psychological consequences of not being able to go to school, they have continued to operate their talmudei Torah for their young in direct contravention of the guidelines of a government in which they serve.

When it was suggested that fines be increased in an effort to enforce the regulations put in place to impede the spread of the coronavirus, they were among the first to oppose such a step, because it would have targeted their institutions. Yet, as we all know, the number of those infected is considerably higher among the charedim than within other sections of the population.

Most Israelis have been immensely tolerant of their behaviour over the years, but enough is enough. It is time that our politicians established a government not dependent upon the ultra-Orthodox for its survival. Perhaps then the charedim, who have been able to operate as a nation within a nation, taking advantage of what a modern, welfare state has to offer but without paying the price, would be forced to step into line.

About the Author
Rabbi Boyden was educated and received his rabbinical ordination in London, England. Having served as the rabbi of Cheshire Reform Congregation for thirteen years, he made aliyah with his family in 1985. He has established Reform congregations in Ra'anana and Hod Hasharon and previously served as director of the Israel Reform Movement's Beit Din.