9 Mar 2013

Haredi: The Ultra orthodox society in Israel

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Forget Hamas and Iran. This may be Israel’s most pressing problem. As tensions grow between secular Jews and the ultra-Orthodox, many Israeli feel it is the most troubling conflict the country faces.

The country’s 1 million ultra-Orthodox, also known as Haredim, account for about 19 per cent of the country’s Jewish population of 5.4 million. Many Haredim, a Hebrew word meaning those who tremble before God, marry in their teens. Academics say they typically have eight children, compared with two for secular couples.

In 1960, 15 per cent of Israeli primary students attended schools in the Arab or Haredim systems, rather than non-religious state-run schools. Now it’s about 50 per cent, and is on pace to reach 78 per cent by 2040, according to the Taub Centre, an Israeli think-tank. By 2050, 25 per cent of Israel’s population will be Haredim, the International Monetary Fund estimates.

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