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Ultra-Orthodox Claims Women as a Problem, but Perhaps it is the Men With an Issue
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Ultra-Orthodox are taking a stand to be more aggressive on upholding its rules about women. These rules have proved to be a heavy yoke throughout the years. Recently, Professor Channa Maayan experienced this hindrance firsthand:

The professor, Channa Maayan, knew that the acting health minister, who is ultra-Orthodox, and other religious people would be in attendance. So she wore a long-sleeve top and a long skirt. But that was hardly enough.

  
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Not only did Dr. Maayan and her husband have to sit separately, as men and women were segregated at the event, but she was instructed that a male colleague would have to accept the award for her because women were not permitted on stage.

Another recent account expresses and every more disturbing story regarding a little Orthodox girl, along with other controversies growing in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community:

The list of controversies grows weekly: Organizers of a conference last week on women’s health and Jewish law barred women from speaking from the podium, leading at least
eight speakers to cancel; ultra-Orthodox men spit on an 8-year-old girl whom they deemed immodestly dressed; the chief rabbi of the air force resigned his post because the army declined the excuse ultra-Orthodox soldiers from attending events where female singers perform; protesters depicted the Jerusalem police commander as Hitler on posters because he instructed public bus lines with mixed-sex seating to drive through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods; vandals blacked out women’s faces on Jerusalem billboards.

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The men committing these this are called Haredim (or, “those who tremble before God”). Instead of trembling before God, these men are exemplifying the worst characteristics of several stereotypes.

In other words, while rejecting the state, the ultra-Orthodox have survived by making deals with it. And while dismissing the group, seccessive governments – whether run by the left or the right – have survived by trading subsidies for its votes. Now each has to live with the other, and the resulting friction is hard to contain.



But while the community has gained increased economic might – there is a growing market catering to its needs – what is lacking is economic productivity. The community places Torah study above all other values and has worked assiduously to make it possible for its men to do that rather than work. While the women often work, there is a 60 percent unemployment rate among the men, who also generally do not serve in the army.

It is this combination – accepting government subsidies, refusing military service and declining to work, all while having six to eight children per family – that is unsettling for many Israelis, especially when citizens feel economically insecure and mistreated by the government.



 

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