Monday, July 04, 2005

Why is the Dati Leumi population not really fighting the disengagement?

I was listening to my favorite charedi radio station one night on the way home from work, and they were discussing this. The political commentator commented that the government could never do something like this to the Arab or Charedi community, they wouldn't stand for it. The commentator and the host didn't understand why the Dato Leumi population as a whole isn't coming out and protesting.

IMHO, the answer is as follows. The Dati Leumi population is mostly middle class. Middle class people don't make waves or revolutions. Based on this I will explain below the difference between the Charedi population and the Dati Leumi population.

1. The Dati leumi population has been brought up to respect the government, celebrate Yom Haatzmaut, serve in the army, believe in democracy, etc. It is very hard to rebel against all of these things. The Charedi population on the other hand, doesn't really beleive in the government, at best the government is tolerated. The government is looked upon as the enemy who is always trying to take things away. Therefore it is not hard for them to rally against the government.
2. The Dat Leumi population is part of Israeli society. They work in the government, go to public schools, universities, the army, etc. It is hard to rebel aginst a society that you have a large stake in. The Charedi population on the other hand has no stake in society. By choice, they are not part of Israeli society, rather they have their own ghettos.
3. Most people in the Dati Leumi population work and therefore have no time to protest or be arrested. If you have a job which pays your mortgage and supports your family, it is very hard to get arrested and sit in jail and lose your job. How will you feed your family? Pay your mortgage? Middle class people have a lot to lose. The Charedi population on the other hand, has a large group of people sitting and learning in yeshivos and kollelim. If the gedolim say go out and protest, the kollelim and yeshivos close down and people go. If the gedolim said to go get arrested the arrested people would not lose. They would still get their money from their kollel, they would still get their money from the government, the tax breaks etc. Even the working Charedi population is different. Most of those people who work, work in the Charedi community and therefore if they get arrested they wouldn't lose their jobs. They would be supported by a gemachim etc. In short they have much less at stake financially.

To summarize, the middle class does not create revolutions. Revolutions are created by people with a lot of time and little to lose, students and the poor. Students have a lot of time and little to lose, and the poor have a lot of time and are desperate and have little to lose. The middle class has too much to lose. This is the case of the Dati Leumi population in Israel, they have too much to lose and therefore will not really protest and fight against the disengagement.


Cosmic X said...

I beg to disagree with you on this one. The Arabs and the Hareidim have also had to swallow a lot of frogs from the government of Israel.

bluke said...

2 points:
1. That wasn't me talking that was a Charedi political commentator talking
2. Not lately

Anonymous said...

all true, but what's missing is that you had a vote, the dati leumi community doesn't seem to have voted in overwhelming numbers against withdrawal (or am i wrong about that extrapolation?)

bluke said...

Yes you are. Sharon, the last time he ran, ran on a platform explicitly opposing a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Thta was the position of Mitzna who was trounced by Sharon

Anonymous said...

i meant the referendum after that. I don't remember how the vote broke down, but i seem to remember that the dati leumi either didn't go out to vote or wasn't overwhelmingly opposed

bluke said...

You are mistaken. Sharon had a referendum in the Likud about disengagement which he promised to honor. He then went on to lose by a wide margin (if I recall something like 60 - 40) and of course broke his promise to honor the referendum.

It is important to remember that this was not a national referendum just an internal Likud referendum. The Dati Leumi community has their own political party (Mafdal) as well as being active in other right wing parties. The majority of the Likud is not Dati leumi and even so Sharon lost the referendum.

Anonymous said...

I think many of the points here are valid. There are several inaccuracies, however:

Re "dati le'umi":

1) I have personally experienced that those in my diaspora community have not only in principle refused to criticise the gov't's decision, but blindly support it. At first I found this incomprehensible. Then I started to realise that for them, Zionism isn't about performing the mitzvah of making aliyah, or yishuv Eretz Yisroel (as one would think from the term RELIGIOUS Zionism). It's about loyalty to the secular state, regardless of whether its policies conforms with Torah. Any criticism of it is considered treasonous, even if that criticism is Torah-based. The state is iber alles.

After speaking to a member of the Bnei Akiva, their youth group, I learned that all of its members had been forbidden to attend a prayer rally against the expulsion, almost none of the counsellors there were actually opposed to the expulsion, and one counsellor was even spotted in the pro-expulsion rally organised by Hashomer Hatza'ir (who, incidentally, originally set up Gush Katif). This is with the exception of the counsellor I spoke to, who is under Chabad influence.

2) It's also overwhelmingly true that they are middle-/upper-class, and that's a contributing factor, but I think that the connection lies in the fact that their wealth spiritually desensitises them (not to imply that they shouldn't have it, ch"v--all Jews should be blessed).

3) Also, there is the inherent absurdity even recognised by this counsellor of an entire community existing in the diaspora with the stated purpose and ideology of aliyah, when almost none of its constituents have any practical intention of making aliyah, and everyone knows that. As the saying goes: "A Zionist is someone who tells someone else to make aliyah." One can imagine how inspiring such a community is to its youth.

Re chareidim (i.e., Litvishe and non-Chabad Chassidishe):

1) The assumption that chareidim don't have what to lose by opposing the expulsion is mistaken. Their leaders are afraid that they'll lose gov't funding (also known as bribery, blood money r"l). This is why they forbade their constituents from joining protest, especially the march to Gush Katif to actually thwart the expulsion. All bochrim were told that if they'd join, they'd be expelled. And their constituents listened to their leaders.

2) Many charedim are so anti-zionist that they don't sympathise with their fellow Jews, and have a "serves them right" attitude toward the settlers.

3) Many charedim aren't even aware of the existence of the liberated territories and those who have bravely chosen to settle them, nor do they show any interest in the whole matter.

Also, many people have joined in the opposition to the expulsion who do have financial means. Lema'aseh, almost no substantial opposition has come against the expulsion in my community from anyone other than Chabad, which of course stems from their loyalty to the Rebbe's countless sharp talks on the matter (see ).

Frank Yehudi said...

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