Tragically, my Great Shield Revolt will continue even if it cannot circumvent the Court

Absolutely unabashedly, convicted bribery and tax offender Aryeh Deri responded to the Supreme Court’s unsurprising decision that his return to ministerial office was “unreasonable in the extreme” by portraying the ruling as a dishonest attack on the “Great Revolution” his party Shas adopted. and by promising, by any means and by all means, to evade the court’s efforts to protect Israel and its treasuries from his ministers.

hours after Wednesday Rule that he must step down immediately or be expelled, and after Benjamin Netanyahu hosted a solidarity and strategy session that also constituted a joint message of derision for the judges whom the prime minister had so desperately needed to neutralize, Deri declared: “We will continue a great revolution. We will continue to represent the poor classes, we will continue to represent the world of the Torah, we will continue Protecting the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, by all means and all possibilities.

“When they close the door in our face, we will enter through the window,” he said vow with his revolutionary fervor. “When they close the window, we will break through the roof, with God’s help.”

With Netanyahu’s empowerment, the ultra-Orthodox leadership of the Sephardi Shas and its Ashkenazi counterpart have long been embroiled in revolt. What I am talking about here is not a disastrous planned judicial reform, but an educational, social and economic revolution with devastating consequences for many of their constituents and for Israel.

The agreements that Shas and United Torah Judaism struck in coalition deals last month with Netanyahu’s Likud party are intended to accelerate the damage. If implemented, in fact, it is guaranteed to deepen the education and employment crisis in the Haredi community, condemning a large segment of the country’s fastest-growing population to further spiraling poverty, and ultimately threatening the sustainability of the state.

offend their constituency

In their coalition agreements, Shas and United Torah Judaism negotiated greatly expanded funding for the non-public school networks. Not only are the finances and operations of these schools often devoid of effective oversight, with the consequent potential for misuse of funds, but additional funding should be allocated without condition to the teaching of core curricula including Maths, Science and English.

Likewise, the parties secured increased funding for full-time religious study for Haredi males, and a pledge to expand the already broad exemption this segment of the population received from the military and any other national service.

Taken together, these priorities—which Deri and United Torah Judaism leader Yitzhak Goldknopf have presented as significant achievements—mean denying more of their constituents the basic education they need to become an effective, full-fledged part of the workforce able to provide for their families. , and constitutes a disincentive for them to even attempt to do so.

Instead—and this is exactly what the strategy of Shas and United Torah Judaism intends—many of them will become increasingly dependent on state-funded welfare, and on their political leaders using coalition influence to keep welfare funded. It should be emphasized, however, that Shas generally adheres to a more explicit Zionist view than Torah Judaism, and its voters are much more likely than Tolt Judaism voters to perform military service and enter the workforce.

United Torah Judaism leader, Housing and Construction Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf, arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, January 15, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

No one better than Netanyahu understands the dangers to the Israeli economy due to large segments of the population receiving substandard education, and being discouraged from working. Just last month, in some of the most startlingly self-conscious comments, is it possible to conceive of a pregnancy, Netanyahu meticulously explained in English interview How, as finance minister 20 years ago, he introduced sweeping reforms to the national welfare system, which he said had been subject to widespread abuse in many Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities.

“In order to put the ‘fat man’, the public sector, on a diet, I had to cut back on Israel’s lavish welfare system, which encouraged people to live on the dole and not go out and work,” the prime minister said. specific. At risk of becoming unpopular, he added, “I cut off the child allowance, which was exceptional in Israel—they were going up with every successive child; it was leading to a demographic and economic collapse. The same was happening in other sectors, the ultra-Orthodox community and so on.” They didn’t work. They just had so many children that the private sector had to pay for.”

Barely three weeks after that interview, and only a week after he himself tweeted about it, Netanyahu’s Likud party signed its coalition agreements with the Haredi parties, which provide for a return to the reverse processes it acknowledged and dealt with 20 years ago.

Ultra-Orthodox men celebrate the Simshat Torah festival in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem on October 17, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

national harm

Not only is it deeply harmful to many members of the Haredi community with inferior education, exclusion from national service, reduced opportunities for productive work, and a disincentive to trying to work, but it is also extremely harmful to the rest of Israel.

When your fastest growing demographic gets a substandard education, your country will, inevitably, gradually deteriorate from a successful country to a substandard one. (The Haredi sector is said to currently make up about 12.6% of the population grow twice the speed of the total population. Indeed, according According to Dan Ben-David of the Shoresh Institute for Social and Economic Research, 23.7% of Israelis ages 0-4 are Haredi.)

When large segments of the sector do not share the responsibilities of national service, they hold back from healthy integration with other Israelis, and this breeds resentment in those who bear the pressure. When the rest of Israel is also increasingly required to support them (the top 20% of the workforce already pays 92% of the income tax, while the bottom 50% of the population is so poor that they can pay no income tax at all, according For Ben-David), resentment and a sense of injustice can only run deeper, with potentially dire repercussions. This could include a growing brain drain, a widening of the national divide, an inability to maintain a strong economy, and thus, ultimately, a decreased ability to guarantee Israel’s defense.

The high birth rate, low education, widespread avoidance of national service, and relatively low labor force participation in much of the ultra-Orthodox community are not new trends, and their effects are not new sources of concern. But the coalition’s stated agenda will exacerbate it rather than cure it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves Aryeh Deri’s home in Jerusalem, after he visited the leader of Shas, hours after the High Court ruling disqualified Deri from a cabinet post, Jan. 18, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

High Court judges ruled that Deri should not hold a cabinet position due to his financial setback and misleading the Jerusalem Magistrates Court when he said it, while negotiating a non-custodial order. Phrase Because of his tax conviction last year, he said he would have no further dealings with matters of “public economic interest as he would be kept out of the public sphere”.

Indeed, at the expense of Deri’s constituents and the broader state, the Shas leader’s “great revolution” will continue – whether he can find a window or a roof to smash a court and direct it ministerially.

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