June 1, 2011

THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO ATTACK THE PALIS, NOT US!:

Are orthodox Jews colonising Israeli towns? (Nathalie Rothschild, 6/01/11, spiked)

Ramat Aviv, a district in northern Tel Aviv, is known as an affluent, liberal-left neighbourhood. It is home to Tel Aviv University as well as to one of Israel’s swankiest shopping malls. It was the setting of a long-running soap opera, Ramat Aviv Gimel - Israel’s answer to Beverly Hills 90210. Most Israelis would be surprised to find out that Ramat Aviv is slowly being infiltrated and taken over by ultra-orthodox Jews.

The claim of an ultra-orthodox takeover is being made by a group of self-avowed secular activists who are setting up the Forum of Secular Communities (FSC). On their website, called Hiloni (meaning ‘secular’), the community activists state that ultra-orthodox groups are invading neighbourhoods in Ramat Aviv and other districts and towns across Israel, taking over buildings and public areas, infiltrating the education system and luring young people into religious schools, sometimes with the help of sweets.

FSC’s founder, Ram Fruman, a Ramat Aviv native and the manager of a venture capitalist fund, explains to me that 95 per cent of Ramat Aviv’s 20,000 residents are secular but that the district has also long been home to a small community of Dati’im Leumim, nationalist religious Jews. They have lived in coexistence with their liberal and mostly left-leaning neighbours, says Fruman. However, this religious section of Israeli society has in recent years split, with the emergence of so-called Haredim Leumim, ultra-orthodox nationalist Jews. Along with the Haredim, anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox Jews, the Haredim Leumim have begun moving into secular areas around Israel with the intent of changing their character, say Fruman and his fellow pro-secular activist.



Posted by at June 1, 2011 5:57 AM
  

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