MembersCorona’s Divisive Side Effects on Israeli Society

Orthodox Jews believe that Torah study does more to stop COVID than government regulations, and that angers secular Israelis

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: Orthodox Jews, Coronavirus
Police and Orthodox Jews face off over Corona regulations
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Corona crisis has exposed the deep divide within Israel between the secular and Orthodox communities like nothing before has. This microscopic germ without borders or discrimination has infiltrated Israel's insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and posed a fundamental question of identity: Who is Lord in the modern Jewish state? The rabbis, or the government?

For the most part, the Orthodox world is far removed from Israeli society. At times they are forced to adapt to democratic requirements they may not agree with just to remain citizens of the country. This current crisis has presented demands on Orthodox traditions unlike any other.


High infection rate

Israel has been hit by a third wave of the coronavirus and the data indicates that 35 percent of the COVID-infected people are Orthodox Jews, three times as many as would be expected for a population of their size.

Israeli society and its decision-makers have not grasped that the problem among the ultra-Orthodox is not merely a matter of evaluating the risks of getting sick. The problem is embedded deep in the way...

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