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Bibi Destroys Charedi Accomplishment
It's frustrating beyond words.
While in New York they are making a fuss about chassidim not getting a general education, here in Israel it's infinitely worse. At least in New York, the chassidim only harm themselves (with indirect harm to the wider Jewish community as a result of the inevitable backlash to exposés of fraud). But in Israel, where the charedim are fully a third of first-graders and increasing, the lack of secular education doesn't just cause a disastrous cycle of poverty in charedi communities - it's a threat to the entire country. Jonathan Rosenblum, in his all-time most important column in Mishpacha, pointed out that both the IDF and the national economy requires a high proportion of the population to have professional careers. Unless there is some sort of fundamental change in charedi society, the country is doomed.
Such changes are incredibly difficult to make happen. Some people like to say that "change happens from within," but that sort of change, while it is happening, is taking place far too slowly to stop the impending national disaster. If one charedi kid in each family enrolls in some sort of education or training program, that still leaves five who don't.
But the Bennett-Lapid government, among other extraordinary accomplishments, managed to make a significant change. The Belz chassidic network of schools agreed, for the first time, to incorporate the core curriculum, in exchange for additional funding. The significance of this cannot be adequately stressed. It was a sea change in chareid society and a harbinger of hope for both reducing charedi poverty and for saving the country.
Nevertheless, the Lithuanian charedi community firmly opposed it. (It's interesting that whereas in the US it's the chassidim rather than the Litvaks who are more closed to secular education, here in Israel it's the opposite.) Consequently, the political union of Agudas Yisrael (the Chassidim) with Degel HaTorah (the Litvaks) was going to break apart. And there was a chance that one of those parties would fail to cross the electoral threshold in the forthcoming elections.
Enter Bibi. He loves having the charedi parties in his coalition, since they will do whatever he wants as long as throws money at them to subsidize their economically non-viable communities, just as they did with the Gaza withdrawal. Bibi was very worried about the prospect of a charedi party not crossing the electoral threshold. So, in order to avoid them splitting up, he offered that all charedi schools will receive full funding even if they don't teach any secular studies. Which means, of course, that there will no longer be any incentive for Belz to make their curricular change.
It's appalling. There was finally a path out of poverty for the charedim and for Israel, and Bibi went and ruined it out of his lust for power. After having received this offer, the charedim will never join any coalition unless they are given this same offer.
Bibi has accomplished many great things for the State of Israel. But this may prove to be his most devastating act of damage.