Israeli Pundit Suggests ‘A Modest Proposal’ for Reducing the Haredi Population
Almost all our political parties expressed their views on the proper way to draft the haredim into the IDF. The freshest proposal is the one presented by Yair Lapid. The main innovation inherent in it is the undoing of the Gordian knot that forces ultra-Orthodox youngsters to study at the yeshiva and prevents them from working for a living.
Haredi officials rushed to slam the rookie politician and accused him of holding hatred towards members of their sector. This is a regular pattern: Anyone who attempts to impose any kind of change on the haredim is accused of hating them and often also of anti-Semitism. Those who view themselves as the guardians of real Judaism apparently cannot address criticism against them in any other way.
Yet don’t conclude from the above that I endorse Lapid’s proposal. The forced enlistment of thousands of youngsters lacking any professional training guarantees a huge waste of money and immense corruption. So what should we do?
I’ve heard all the prevailing views and none of them convinced me. When a question has no answer for a long period of time, we must realize that no answer exists and come up with another question. Hence, the correct question is not how to draft the haredim and draw them into the job market, but rather, what should be done in order to minimize their rate within Israeli society.
OF COURSE Haredim should be drafted into the IDF or National Service like everyone else, and support their families with dignity. But Yaron London does not want that. He does not want Haredim in IDF uniforms carrying guns, or empowered Haredim working in professional careers. He wants them reduced, shrunken, dwindled, minimized…without saying exactly how he proposes to go about shrinking an entire population, but his words do conjure up images from history as to how similar objectives of shrinking a population were carried out in the past.