Ending Single-Sex Colleges in Israel Would Strangle the Integration of the Ultra-Orthodox

A group of Israeli professors has petitioned the country’s Supreme Court to end government funding for single-sex colleges catering to ḥaredi students. Meanwhile, ultra-Orthodox parties have put forth legislation to protect these colleges. Thanks in no small part to such institutions, there has been a steep rise in the number of ḥaredi men and women in Israel obtaining secular higher education and joining the workforce, a trend that brings significant benefits to both the ḥaredi community and Israeli society as a whole. David M. Weinberg writes:

Over the past seven years, the Israeli government wisely has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in higher-education opportunities for ḥaredi men and women—and this is working. The number of ḥaredi students in college has jumped by more than 80 percent over this period, to 11,000 each year. And the number of ḥaredi men in the workforce has risen from 40 to 50 percent over the past decade. . . . In parallel, there seems to be an increasing majority sentiment within Israeli ḥaredi society that embraces higher education and superior employment. Surveys suggest that more than 80 percent of ḥaredi parents want their high schools to teach secular subjects alongside religious ones. . . .

It is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of Ḥaredim will not go to study in mixed-sex classrooms and mixed-sex campuses. That is too far a stretch for the very conservative and still quite insular ḥaredi society, which has a hard enough time engaging in secular studies in the first place. Thus, the militant axing of separate-sex programs would lead to the exclusion of most ḥaredi men and women from institutions of higher studies. This would kill the slow but measurable and exciting movement of Ḥaredim into the workforce that is crucial for Israel’s economy and society. . . .

I strongly suspect that the aggressive opposition to single-sex study programs for ḥaredi students stems from a deeper, darker, illiberal place. The professors and journalists behind this are, I think, frightened by the prospect of ḥaredi integration into Israeli life and the economy. Of course, this is what they have demanded for decades—that the ḥaredi community get educated and go to work (and serve in the military)—but now that it is beginning to happen, they have changed their minds.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli society, Israeli Supreme Court, Ultra-Orthodox


Hizballah Prepares for War, and UN Peacekeepers Do Nothing

Dec. 10 2018

According to last year’s UN Security Council Resolution 2373, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)—the peacekeeping force created after the Second Lebanon War to keep both Israel and Hizballah out of southern Lebanon—is authorized “to take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces, and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind.” If anything ought to rouse UNIFIL to action, writes Elliott Abrams, it should be the IDF’s recent discovery and destruction of tunnels dug by Hizballah to move troops into the Galilee:

The existence of these tunnels, dug from precisely the area of southern Lebanon that UNIFIL is meant to patrol, means that this area is indeed “utilized for hostile activities.” What, then, is the meaning of [UNIFIL’s statement in] response that it “will communicate its preliminary findings to the appropriate authorities in Lebanon”? The meaning is that UNIFIL will likely do nothing.

UNIFIL is not supposed to be merely a means of communication, or the Security Council would have bought cell phones instead of paying for a military force. Moreover, there are no “appropriate authorities” in Lebanon; if there were, Hizballah would never have been able to dig its tunnels.

The tunnels are hardly the only brazen Hizballah violation of the Security Council resolutions undertaken right under UNIFIL’s nose. Consider this: Hizballah is blocking roads in southern Lebanon to smooth the path of missiles it is moving into the area. . . . Then there is the village of Gila, just north of the Israeli border, where there is a Hizballah headquarters and according to the Israelis about twenty warehouses with weapons, combat positions, lookout points, and dozens of underground positions. All this was built in an area supposedly patrolled by UNIFIL. . . .

This is a test of UNIFIL and its new commander, [Stefan Del Col, who took over in August]. “Communicating” to “appropriate authorities” is a euphemism for doing nothing at all. Hizballah is preparing for war. UNIFIL is supposed to get in its way. If it cannot hinder Hizballah’s war preparations in any way, and is even ignorant of them, UNIFIL is a waste of time and money.

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More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Lebanon, United Nations