Frightening: Israeli fury at ultra-Orthodox ‘bordering on anti-Semitism’

Survey shows a third of Israelis are angry with the ultra-Orthodox, who believe the attitude against them “borders on anti-Semitism.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A study shows that a majority of Israelis are angry with the country’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish population and those feelings appear to show some of the same symptoms as anti-Semitism, Channel 11 reported Tuesday.

A report aired by the channel showed that three out of four Israelis are angry with the ultra-Orthodox sector over their conduct during the coronavirus crisis.

The poll showed what the news report called “a more disturbing, almost frightening statistic” that just over a third of Israelis (37%) say they feel “hate” for the ultra-Orthodox, a minority (13%) said they “agree” with the statement “I feel hatred for the ultra-Orthodox,” and another quarter of Israelis are content with “somewhat agreeing” with the statement.

According to the report, the anger and hatred appear to stem from frustration that while a majority of ultra-Orthodox are following health guidelines, large groups within haredi society reject the restrictions and refuse to comply as the rest of Israeli society struggles to overcome the pandemic.

The other source of anger is that despite the misconduct of large haredi groups, the political power of the two religious parties in Israel’s parliament, Shas and United Torah Judaism, is likely to continue for the foreseeable future and they will likely be partners in the next government after the March 23 elections.

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The anger of Israelis stems from the feeling of helplessness that there is no political price to be paid nor any loss of influence by the religious parties, the report noted.

At the same time, the investigators asked the public if they also felt that the ultra-Orthodox community was being wronged: “Are the media, the aggressive politicians, the writers of the articles and the posts, too hasty to judge [and] exaggerate in judgment?”

The poll found that 40% of respondents agreed, showing that quite a few Israelis are angry with the ultra-Orthodox but at the same time think they are being wronged.

“This is not necessarily contradictory,” the report said, adding that a large majority of the ultra-Orthodox themselves believe that they have been wronged, with nine out of 10 ultra-Orthodox saying that their treatment “borders on anti-Semitism.”

Among the secular Israelis who responded to the poll, one in five (20%) completely believes that the ultra-Orthodox have been wronged, while fewer (17%) believe that the the basis for the anger is anti-Semitism.

The report noted that the sense of injustice rises as one moves from the secular pole to the religious pole.

“This is a public discourse for which no good will emerge: one side is angry, the other side feels persecuted. This phenomenon can be added to the chain of damage from the coronavirus,” the report concluded.