- “The decision is questionable. If the government is really interested in avoiding desecration of the Sabbath, and in ensuring a day of rest, it should focus its energy on stopping the illegal work currently being performed on the Sabbath, which according to reports by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, is rarely done.
Tomorrow's elections will determine the local government in 251 cities, towns and municipalities. Of all the political parties represented at a national level in Israel, the ultra-Orthodox parties are the most successful in local government. What are the reasons behind this interesting trend? Read Dr. Gilad Malach's fascinating findings.
Israel needs to abandon the vindictive approach of trying to reform ultra-Orthodox society through force and budget cuts, and rather start investing heavily in education and job creation in the ultra-Orthodox sector. This op-ed was first published in the New York Jewish Week.
IDI Research Fellow Mr. Yair Sheleg highlights growing individualism within both the religious and secular Jewish populations in Israel and takes note of growing rifts between the two communities, in an article that was published at the end of the third millennium as part of a collaboration between IDI and Walla!, a popular Israeli website.
How many ultra-Orthodox live in Israel today? How many will watch this clip on the internet? How are ultra-Orthodox women transforming their community? How many are employed? What age to they get married?
The Israel Democracy Institute’s Dr. Gilad Malach, head of the program on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel, today came out against a decision made by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in coordination with the Civil Service Commission to recognize Rabbinical studies as an academic degree in order to allow Haredim to participate in local tenders.
In advance of Wednesday’s discussion in the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee on the Mikveh Bill, the head of IDI’s Religion and State program, Yair Sheleg, sent a policy paper to committee MKs asking them to vote against the bill. He said the bill unacceptably discriminates, something which is known to its sponsors and clear in the bill’s explanatory notes. The legislation was presented by its sponsors in reaction to a Supreme Court ruling that public ritual baths could be used by the wider public, including for non-Orthodox conversions.
IDI President Yohanan Plesner responds to a report composed today by an inter-ministerial team led by Defense Ministry Director-General Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Dan Harel suggesting that the government examine the possibility of offering discount prices on homes for members of the Haredi public who serve in the security forces.
The relationship between religion and state in Israel is stormy. Lately, it seems the ultra-Orthodox have launched a new offensive on several fronts. This op-ed was originally published by JNS.org.
No aspect of the current Western Wall plaza arrangement, in which the Orthodox maintain a monopoly, will change if other denominations are allowed to pray at the foot of the Temple Mount in a new plaza. This article was first published by The Jerusalem Post.
To facilitate the entry of haredim into academia and the workforce, the state and private industry have invested hundreds of millions of shekels in recent years to create ultra-Orthodox frameworks to support individuals who are looking for academic education and employment while also remaining loyal to their cultural mores. As a result, nearly 80 percent of ultra-Orthodox women are now employed, on par with secular Jewish Israeli women.
Earlier this month, change snuck in through the back door of Israel's court system when Israel’s first ultra-Orthodox judge was appointed. This article was first published by the Jewish Press.
The desired result could have been achieved quietly and efficiently had the Knesset adopted a rational arrangement that would encourage military service through positive and negative economic incentives. (This article was originally published in the Jewish Journal of LA.)
In this op-ed from Haaretz, IDI Research Fellow Yair Sheleg decries the ultra-Orthodox refusal to alter standards for conversion to Judaism in recognition of the fact that for many Israelis, Jewish identity is not only an expression of religious observance but also of identification with Zionism and Jewish culture. He warns that the ultra-Orthodox approach is causing serious injustice to thousands of people who wish to live as Jews and raise Jewish children in Israel.
In an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, IDI's Prof. Yedidia Stern, who served on the Plesner Committee for Equality in National Service, and Mr. Jay Ruderman analyze the Haredi community's reluctance to serve in the Israeli army and present an approach that will facilitate Haredi integration into Israel's army and society.
The issue of the exclusion of women and their marginalization in Israeli society has dominated the media in Israel during the past few weeks. In this article, which was originally published in The Seventh Eye on December 25, 2011, Dr. Debora Lederman-Danieli argues that the media's struggle against the phenomenon of the degradation of women requires much more than disingenuous, populist outcries.
Will the High Court of Justice’s refusal to extend the Tal Law indeed reduce the inequality of burden sharing in Israeli society? IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Momi Dahan does not think so, and argues that ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel should be exempted from the army and allowed to work, so as to assume their fair share of the tax burden.
The "Rabbis' Letter" signed by dozens of community rabbis in Israel in December 2010 asserts that Jewish law forbids the rental and sale of homes in Israel to non-Jews. Is renting property to non-Jews indeed forbidden by Jewish law? IDI Researcher Dr. Eliezer Hadad surveys opinions by contemporary rabbis who adopted a universalistic approach and found a halakhic basis for the equal rights mandated by both international norms and the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
Why is the marginalization of women in Israeli society and their exclusion from the public sphere on the rise in Israeli society? In this op-ed, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Stern focuses on the religious Zionist community and the power struggle to determine who will control the public sphere and the space of the religious community.
Will the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling that the Tal Law is unconstitutional really guarantee that the burden of Israel's defense will be shared equally by the country's citizens? IDI's Prof. Yedidia Stern warns that this ruling may actually hinder the integration of the Haredi community into Israeli society rather than promoting it.
Following the dissolution of the Committee to Advance Equality in Sharing the Burden, committee head MK Yohanan Plesner submitted proposals for alternatives to the Tal Law. In this article, IDI Researcher Attorney Haim Zicherman, who served as the content coordinator of the Plesner Committee, warns that some of those measures were personal recommendations rather than recommendations of the Committee, and may reverse trends of increasing army service by ultra-Orthodox Jews.
More and more ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Israelis are enlisting in the IDF, driven by personal, financial, and professional motives, with military service seen as an “entrance ticket” to Israeli society and to the labor market. But military service also introduces them to the shared components of identity and citizenship linking them to the state and its values, and enabling them to identify with others, from outside their community.
Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer presents a contrasting view to Prof. Yedidia Stern's assertion that the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling on the exemption of ultra-Orthodox men from military service in Israel is "<a href="http://en.idi.org.il/analysis/articles/judicial-activism-at-its-height">Judicial Activism at its Height</a>."
The Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Tal Law, after 30 years of avoiding the issue of the exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service, is an expression of judicial activism that illustrates the transformation that the Israeli Supreme Court has undergone in the last generation. In this op-ed, originally published in Hebrew in <em>Makor Rishon</em>, IDI Vice President Prof. Yedidia Stern asserts that the Court went too far in this ruling and that its activism is hard to justify.
This article presents the main milestones in the recurring attempts to put a satisfactory arrangement for the deferment of military service for yeshiva students in place. In doing so, it surfaces the changes that have occurred over time in the constitutional, legal, and public responses and attitudes on this issue.
The Emerging Haredi Middle Class in Israel
The Doctrine of Da′at Torah at the Turn of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
Beliefs, Observances, and Values among Israeli Jews 2000 (Abstract)
Volume I: The Haredim in Israel
A Journey to the Wellsprings of Israeli Politics - Haredi Men in the Likud
A Bridge to Employment
The Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum, 2001
The 9th Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum, June 2001