Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Suddenly Are Outsiders
As Israel’s new government takes shape, the country’s powerful ultra-Orthodox Jewish political parties seem poised to find themselves in unfamiliar territory — the parliamentary opposition — instead of their traditional seats around the Cabinet table.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s two new potential partners pledge to end a system in which the ultra-Orthodox have used political clout to win generous government subsidies, evade compulsory military service and attempt to impose their conservative social mores.
Nothing is certain yet. Netanyahu is still negotiating, and he has not yet signed coalition agreements with the two main parties — the centrist Yesh Atid and hawkish Jewish Home.
If his new government excludes the ultra-Orthodox parties, it could reshape the face of Israel, which has experienced growing strife in recent years between the fast-growing ultra-Orthodox community and the general public.