For many Orthodox Jews, the Israel Ministry of Health’s precautionary measures are no cause for panic. Against all orders, for example, an Orthodox community held a raucous wedding in Beit Shemesh earlier this week, eliciting outrage in the Israeli media. Thousands of average Israeli Jews responded on social media by criticizing the irresponsible behavior of their Orthodox siblings.
Initially, many rabbis did not cooperate with the new government regulations because they believe they are immune to such plagues. “God is my antidote to the coronavirus,” an Orthodox Jew at the gas station told me half seriously, half cynically. From these people’s perspective, everything is in God’s hands, so human regulations make no sense to them.
“The Almighty is in control and keeps me,” I heard from Orthodox Jews one after the other.
It is this same mindset that compels most Orthodox Jews to reject military service. They consider themselves an army of God, and see prayer and Torah study as their national service. It is a strange...
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