During the Second Intifada, as in other hard times, many secular Israelis realized that their people needed a strong dose of haredi and religious Zionist stoicism to survive and thrive under the Israeli circumstances. No completely secularized society would have resisted for a minute.
The world of Torah was in the process of being destroyed by the Nazis during the Shoah. Some scholars even suggested that the Orthodoxy in the XX century would have been consumed by the Enlightenment, Zionist and Socialistic secular Jewish movements and it retook the center of the stage because of the Shoah that nearly incinerated the religious Jewish world.
That should make the secular Israelis reflect about the very meaning of the “Final Solution of the Jewish people”. The haredim and religious Zionists perpetuated the lost Orthodox Judaism after the Shoah and refilled the ranks of Torah scholarship destroyed in the gas chambers.
Those who despise the Haredim usually don’t stop there: they go on to despise modern Orthodox, religious Zionists, “settlers”… All those who go in the opposite direction the world would like the Jews to take. I have never found the Haredim narrow and dark, as the media like to portrays them. I met only humble and joyful people.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews after 1948 came to Israel not because it is a liberal democracy, but because it is a shelter and it is Eretz Yisrael. Torah scholarship was fundamental in keeping the Jewish tradition alive. In Israel there are thousands of baalei teshuvah, or “returnees”. And that is also a consequence of the importance of Orthodox Judaism in the Israeli society.
True, the secular and religious division is causing lots of tensions in the Israeli society. But to reach a healing, both must overcome the differences and appreciate their respective and unique contributions to the Israeli enterprise. And the haredi contribution to Israel is immense.
Read full: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva