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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Secular Israel, Not All It's Cracked Up To Be

Although the Israeli media and academia like to consider Israel secular, the secular population has lost the battle for Israel.  Just look at the numbers in elementary school and the army.  It used to be easy to keep all but the most overly qualified religious recruits from top units, but nowadays, there are few totally secular youth willing to compete for the most dangerous and elite units.

That doesn't stop the rigidly conservative, though they call themselves "liberal" Israelis from kvetching to all who want to hear, like in this Reuters report.
...There, a urinal that uses a motion detector to clean itself was signposted: "Forbidden on the Sabbath." Troops, he realized, were being ordered to defer to Orthodox Jewish curbs on the use of electricity between Friday night and Saturday night.
For Daniel, and for millions of other Israeli citizens, the sign is symbolic of creeping change in an institution long cherished as a bastion of national unity. An increasing number of conscripts are Orthodox Jews - mirroring the growth of the minority in Israeli society at large. Some religious troops view military service through the prism of their own piety - either as the realization of a messianic vision that sees Jews conquering biblical lands or as an institution that should be subordinated to rabbinical writ.
For secular Israelis, already worried about the role of religion in the Jewish state, that threatens not just the military but the country itself...
And to be honest, there aren't "millions of other Israeli citizens" who think like that Daniel.  Israel only has a few million Jewish citizens.  Many are children and many are religious or traditional and don't agree with him.  He's in the minority.
Simple numbers, demographics, number of children etc. show what Israel will be like in the next generation. There's hardly a secular neighborhood that isn't being surprised by who's buying homes in it, the religious, all shades and styles.

And that's one of the reasons why when push comes to shove, I don't think that the Appease aka Peace sic Now activists really want to destroy the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.  They don't want further influx of Torah observant Jews into their remaining havens...

6 comments:

Hadassa said...

Shalom!
No-one was asking anyone to heed the sign. Someone posted it so that anyone who cared wouldn't use the urinal. The writer was misrepresenting the situation in order to "show" an instance of religion coercion where none existed.
The seculars wouldn't admit it when the hareidim scored better, on average, in math on standardized tests. I'll look for the link.

Hadassa said...

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/73649#.T1yz0h2qqfg
"Three months ago, the Education Ministry publicized the hareidi-school results of its fifth-grade Meitzav tests, which measure "school-wide achievement and growth" - and the hareidim did better than other sectors. Hareidi students - i.e., those who study in private recognized religious school systems - scored an average of 79 on the tests, while their counterparts in public and public-religious schools scored only 71. The tests were administered last year - the first time the religious schools participated in this testing system. Close to 6,000 hareidi students in 161 schools took part in the tests."

Anonymous said...

if there is such growth among the religious/traditional in israel, why have the knesset demographics hardly shifted in 20 years?

goyisherebbe said...

Anonymous,
The Knesset demographics have not shifted because a lot of religious Jews are sick of the religious parties and instead want religious Jews to be represented in the mainstream where the main policy decisions are made. The religious parties trade their votes on major issues for jobs and budgets for their schools and other institutions.

Anonymous said...

...then have the mainstream parties [i assume likud] gotten more religious over the past 20 years? i dont think so.
so what have the religious gained over the past 20 years by leaving the religious parties, and voting likud?

Batya said...

In terms of MK's I think there are more Torah observant MK's from various parties, and they're less likely to hid their religiosity.
You see more kippot in the media and lots of other professions.
There are many relgious teachers in non-religious schools.
Demographics speak. Just wait