Why British Jews, of All Stripes, Should Be Concerned about New Restrictions on Orthodox Education

July 13 2022

An education bill currently before the British parliament would, inter alia, extend curriculum regulations that now only apply to elementary-school students to ḥaredi schools for children ages thirteen and older. At the same time, the British government is pressuring ḥaredi schools for younger children to teach about tolerance of homosexuals. Joe Mintz argues that even Jews who wish ḥaredi schools to offer more robust secular educations should be wary of the potential threat to religious freedom:

Surely this is a slam dunk, and every child in England must be educated to a “minimum” standard in mathematic and English and be prepared for life in “modern Britain”? . . . What happened to a commitment to religious freedom in the actions of the government in bringing this bill, or the mainstream Jewish community in condemning ḥaredi Jews for opposing it? Are we really that sure the public-interest arguments outweigh parental religious freedom?

I wonder if the antipathy towards the ḥaredi position by the [Anglo-]Jewish community is seriously misplaced. It seems to me to have unfortunate echoes of the concerns raised by the established community in the late 19th and early 20th century, when newly arrived Jews from Eastern Europe were looked down as being not just far too religious but also uncouth, uncultured, and far too likely to make non-Jews aware of how strange and esoteric, how un-English, Judaism and traditional Jewish life actually was.

We could also recognize that just because how the government sees fit to balance religious freedom and majority concerns on this issue suits the mainstream Jewish community, that might not always be the case. . . . If we think that on brit milah as well as a host of other potential issues the government could not one day decide that our religious freedom is trumped by other majority concerns, we delude ourselves. In reality, this should be our fight too.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anglo-Jewry, Freedom of Religion, United Kingdom


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy