How the Ultra-Orthodox Undermine Themselves

For many members of Israel’s haredi community, loyalty is signaled by rendering oneself useless in the outside world.

December 18, 2014 | Moshe Koppel
About the author: Moshe Koppel is a member of the department of computer science at Bar-Ilan University and chairman of the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem. His book, Judaism Straight Up: Why Real Religion Endures, has just been released by Maggid Books.
This is a response to Are the Ultra-Orthodox the Key to Israel's Future?, originally published in Mosaic in December 2014

Ultra-Orthodox men praying in Ramat Gan, Israel. Photo by Ahikam Seri/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

As Aharon Ariel Lavi cogently describes, Israel’s haredi community falls far short of realizing its economic potential. But economic underperformance is hardly its main problem. To understand how Israeli haredim are failing to achieve their own objectives, we must first understand what these objectives are and how haredim hope to achieve them.

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