Ultra-Orthodox Slackers

Israel has an ultra-Orthodox problem. Males born into haredi families can look forward to the following:

  • Exempted from military service;
  • Exempted from work or employment;
  • Arranged marriage at very young age;
  • Supported by working wife; and
  • Supported by working parents.

The “job” of ultra-Orthodox males in Israel appears to consist of two things: inseminate wife and study Torah. While they are considered “scholars,” these studies don’t include math, science, languages, and humanities. It isn’t scholarship when the only thing studied is Jewish religion.

While Gershom Gorenberg characterizes this as an “economic disaster” in his new book The Unmaking of Israel, the cultural and political implications are more profound. When non-working radicals out-reproduce the rest of the population, bad things happen.

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5 thoughts on “Ultra-Orthodox Slackers

  1. Cris Post author

    Someone pays for all this “studying” and uselessness, beginning with wives and parents. The whole society pays for it in more than just lost productivity.

  2. J. A. Le Fevre

    Yes, they are buying a class of dependants – the higher the subsidies, the faster it will grow.

  3. Cris Post author

    I’m not an expert on these issues but it seems that a small but powerful segment of Israeli society supports them (for political or parliamentary voting reasons, and perhaps some give support for nostalgic reasons) so my guess is that nothing will change. When non-productive people can exploit some sort of niche in the larger society, they usually do well.

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