Podcast: Yehoshua Pfeffer on the Future of Ultra-Orthodox Politics and Culture in Israel https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/israel-zionism/2019/07/podcast-yehoshua-pfeffer-on-the-future-of-ultra-orthodox-politics-and-culture-in-israel/

The leading ultra-Orthodox intellectual joins us to explain the key conflicts surrounding the place of his community within Israeli society.

July 25, 2019 | Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic, Yehoshua Pfeffer
About the author: A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture. Yehoshua Pfeffer, a rabbi and rabbinical judge, holds a law degree from the Hebrew University and clerked at the Israel Supreme Court. He has taught at a number of yeshivas, published widely on Jewish law and thought, and is currently directing programs for the haredi community in Israel for the Tikvah Fund.

Israeli police officers turn water cannons on young ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered to protest their possible forced military conscription. Jerusalem, July 02, 2019. Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

This Week’s Guest: Yehoshua Pfeffer


Every election in Israel’s history has yielded a governing majority—until now. Though a bloc of right-wing parties emerged from the April 2019 Knesset elections with a clear majority, coalition negotiations fell apart when Avigdor Lieberman, head of the secular rightist Yisrael Beytenu party, made demands regarding the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews (Ḥaredim) into the Israel Defense Forces that were unacceptable to the ultra-Orthodox and their parties. Israelis will go back to the polls in September, but the key conflicts surrounding the place of the Ḥaredim within Israeli society are not going away any time soon.

To examine these conflicts, we are joined this week on the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic by Rabbi Yehoshua Pfeffer, editor of the influential journal Tzarikh Iyyun and one of the most important figures thinking about and helping to shape the future of ḥaredi politics and culture in Israel. Pfeffer discusses the complicated relationship between the ultra-Orthodox and the IDF, the shifting attitudes toward broader Israeli society among younger Ḥaredim, and whether the ḥaredi community needs to craft a new, non-exilic politics for life inside a thriving Jewish state.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

This podcast was recorded in front of a live audience at the Tikvah Center in New York City.


Listen via iTunes Podcasts | Google PlayStitcher | Spotify




Every Thursday, the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic will bring to your car/earbuds/home stereo/Alexa the latest in our efforts to advance Jewish thought. For more on the new podcast, check out our inaugural post here.

A final note: If you would like to share your thoughts on the podcast, ideas for future guests and topics, or any other form of feedback, just send us an email at [email protected]. We’re grateful for your support, and we look forward to a new year of great conversations on Jewish essays and ideas.