Religious Struggles or Self-Interest

Rabbis are leading the religious struggles

The public is not buying the claim that the shabbat militants are motivated by ethical reasons. 74% of the Jewish public: Judaism unifies, the rabbis divide. 53%: the police are handling the demonstrations too leniently.

Haredim throwing garbage Flash90Haredim throwing garbage Flash90

76% of the Jewish public in Israel (and 93% of secular people) are convinced that the Haredi rabbis are conducting the religious struggles in Jerusalem with the intention of advancing narrow Haredi interests and only 24% are conviced that they are doing this out of love for the Jewish people and general concern. This is the result of a survey published by the Smith Institute in September 2009, and commissioned by Hiddish – For Freedom of Religion in Israel. The survey was done using representative sample of 500 people from the adult Jewish population. It is particularly relevant in light of the unrest associated with the Intel struggle. Other findings in the survey: A decisive majority – 53% – are convinced that the police are handling the Haredi demonstrations in Jerusalem too leniently, compared to only 11% who think that they are using excessive force. Among those who think the police are dealing with the demonstrations too leniently are 65% of secular people, 50% of traditional people and a third of the religious. 74% of the public agree with the claim that Judaism unifies and the rabbis divide. The respondants were asked to answer this question couched in a few words of explanation: "There are those who believe that the religious struggles led by the Haredi rabbis are essential to the preservation of Judaism, and there are those who

there are those who believe the those struggles only serve one stream of Judaism and the rabbis themselves.

believe the those struggles only serve one stream of Judaism and the rabbis themselves." In other words, even the question itself shows that three quarters of the public are convinced that the religious struggles in Jerusalem are not for altruistic reasons. The CEO of Hiddush, rabbi and attorney Uri Regev, said in response: "The opposition of the Haredim to the slightest activity on shabbat which is essential to the production process proves the extent to which the Haredi leaders are acting out of self-interest and hard-line factionalism. Not to mentionu the hypocrisy of the Haredi rabbis who protest against Intel because their leaders are not in control of the city. In order to goad a secular mayor, they are prepared to endanger the economic status and scientific prestige of Israel in the eyes of the world. "We only just recovered from the shopping mall riots, and now the political leadership of the Haredi rabbis finds a new excuse to bring the Haredi public into conflict with the majority of the population," adds Regev. He states,"It's not just that Haredi rabbis do everything in their power to keep their own people from working and earning an honest living. Now they're trying to keep other people from doing it. Only freedom of religion and social equality can save the Israeli economy from the coersion and violence of the Haredim".

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