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.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

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

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism