Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

Enough is enough

The Haredim, cloaked in their long beards and austere black garments, are the great beneficiaries of Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government. They live in a self-imposed bubble, shielded from the rest of Israeli society by a government that has sold its soul for political power. While our secular and moderately religious children don military uniforms and face the deadly crossfire at our borders, the ultra-Orthodox youth remain conspicuously absent, enlisted only in the battalion of ignorance and dogma.

The Supreme Court of Israel has finally declared enough is enough. There is no room left for privileges masquerading as religious devotion. The decision to draft the Haredim into military service is a cry for equality that has been stifled for decades. But Netanyahu and his far-right cronies will twist and contort the law like serpents to delay the inevitable, hoping to preserve their fragile coalition.

The Haredim claim their mission is to study the Torah, shielding their young men from any external influences or traces of modernity that could open their minds. This bubble of ignorance is maintained at the expense of those who fight and die for Israel. Prayer does not replace bravery on the battlefield, and hiding behind religious pretexts is an act of cowardice, not faith.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, perpetuates this disgraceful situation. A hostage to his coalition, he is compelled to keep the ultra-Orthodox faction well-fed with exemptions and privileges. His government, the most religious and right-wing in Israel’s history, shows no restraint in its pursuit of power, even if it means sacrificing justice and equality.

Consider the absurdity of transforming the Israeli army into a professional force, remunerating soldiers who enlist while exempting a significant segment of the population. This is a betrayal of our national ethos. Israel has always been a country where the burden is shared, where risking one’s life in defense of the nation is a duty for all, not a privilege for the few.

But the rope is taut and ready to snap. The Supreme Court’s decision is unequivocal: without a law that upholds the equality of all citizens, the haredim must be drafted. If Netanyahu attempts to delay or manipulate this decision, his government may collapse. Perhaps this is the redemption Israel needs: the fall of a corrupt administration and the rise of a new era where everyone, regardless of religious conviction, shares equally in the burden of defending and building our nation.

The Haredim must understand that they cannot hide forever behind their sacred texts. Israel needs all its citizens, and inequality disguised as devotion is no longer tolerable. It is time for everyone to roll up their sleeves and face the dangers and challenges of building and defending this nation. It is time to end privileges and embrace true equality.

Let’s delve into the hard facts: the Haredim contributes a minuscule portion of Israel’s GDP. Despite making up 13% of the population, their participation in the labor market is low, with many relying on state welfare. In contrast, the rest of Israel works hard to support not only themselves but also these insulated communities. The government allocates billions of shekels annually to fund ultra-Orthodox schools and yeshivot, where secular subjects are often neglected in favor of religious studies. This financial drain is unsustainable and unjustifiable.

Moreover, the ultra-Orthodox population is increasing. By 2048, they are projected to make up 25% of Israel’s population. Can our economy sustain this imbalance? Can we afford to pour even more resources into a segment of society that refuses to contribute its fair share? The answer is clear: we cannot.

Netanyahu’s government, by catering to the Haredim, is mortgaging Israel’s future for short-term political gain. His coalition partners, the ultra-Orthodox parties, hold the government hostage, demanding more concessions. This is not governance; it is extortion. The rest of Israel pays the price, both financially and in blood, as our children go to war while theirs stay behind.

It is time to face the truth: the current situation is untenable. The Supreme Court’s decision is a necessary step toward rectifying this imbalance. Israel’s survival depends on the contribution of all its citizens, not just the few who are willing to sacrifice. We must demand more from those who have taken so much. The era of unchecked privilege for the Haredim must end, and with it, the stranglehold of Netanyahu’s far-right government on our nation’s future.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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