How Not to Help the Ultra-Orthodox

Liberal democracies like Israel need and depend on pious people. But they don’t need to— and shouldn’t—subsidize grown men for not working.

December 8, 2014 | Peter Berkowitz
About the author: Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His writings are posted at
This is a response to Are the Ultra-Orthodox the Key to Israel's Future?, originally published in Mosaic in December 2014

Haredi Jews protest a military draft bill on March 2, 2014 in Jerusalem. Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

In the short space of 66 years, Israel has established a kind of polity never before seen in the Middle East, a polity that promises all citizens individual freedom and equality before the law. To an astonishing degree, particularly given the exceedingly dangerous neighborhood in which it dwells, the Jewish state has succeeded.

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