Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
Is it true that secular Jews discriminate against Hasidic Jews?
(13 March, 2018, 26 Adar, 5778)
The query was:Â
Is it true that secular Jews discriminate against Hasidic Jews?Â
Â I assume you are referring to the situation in Israel. Hasidic Jews are mainly part of the Hareidi community. In Israel Hareidi Jews receive certain privileges but are also discriminated against. There is an ambivalent love-hate relationship between Secular Jews and Hareidim in Israel.
First of all the privileges: Hareidim do not usually serve in the Army. The Israeli Public accepts this to some degree but also makes the Hareidim pay for it. The Hareidim who learn Torah receive a modest but still very helpful stipend from the Government. They also get child support that often covers most school fees, etc, in the early stages. On the other hand the Israeli government expends about 5 times as much on non-Hareidi children as on Hareidi ones. [This is per capita, since Hareidi children usually belong to large families they suffer less from the effects of anti-Hariedi discrimination than would otherwise be the case.] The Government also helps the Hareidim in housing and other matters. The government in turn is helped by them: More than half the settlers in Judah and Samaria are Hariedim. The demographic balance against the Arabs is maintained largely by virtue of the Hareidim increasing and multiplying despite great difficulties.
Secondly the Discrimination: There is much anti-Hareidi propaganda in the Israeli secular media. There are secular Jews in Israel who very antagonistic towards Hareidim and make it felt. The Government Service in Israel is the largest employer and they have a system of their own that blocks Hariedim from working for them. There is more. The situation is complicated and not black and white. Many Secular Israelis will come to Hareidi Jews at some stage or other for help and receive it.
The Ambivalence: Most Israelis want Hareidim to learn Torah. They are pleased that some Jews are maintaining the Holy Fire of Divine Service. They want the Hareidim to be strict about the Jewish Religion. They do not fully understand why the Hareidim do not do some kind of National Service in lieu of the army but on the whole they are prepared to live with it. In their hearts many of them would like to be more observant themselves. They feel misled and swindled by secular culture. The Hareidim for their part in private are pleased with the achievements of the State of Israel and its society.
In addition to Secular Jews and Hareidim one also has the National ReligiousÂ who are mostly the equivalent of Modern Orthodox. This is a different story. Some of the NRs resent the Hariedim even more than the Secular do. Other NRs are not much different themselves from the Hareidim and tend to identify with them.