ISRAEL - Ultra-Orthodox: Little Confidence in Health Ministry

Arno Froese

A new study polling attitudes in the ultra-Orthodox sector in Israel to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that while members of the community are fully aware of the dangers of the disease, they are far more trusting and willing to follow the orders of their rabbis than those of the government and state institutions.

The study showed that fully 75% of those polled said they had “absolutely none” or “very little” confidence in the Health Ministry’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, including 42% of hassidic respondents who had “absolutely no” confidence in the ministry.

The hassidic community has in general been the least likely to adhere to government COVID-19 regulations.

By comparison, the group receiving the highest confidence in the ultra-Orthodox population was easily the rabbinic leadership, with 90% of the community saying they trust the rabbis’ decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey also demonstrated resentment against the government regulations, with 81% saying the fact that synagogue services were banned while political demonstrations were allowed was proof that there is discrimination against the ultra-Orthodox sector in Israel.

“Most of the ultra-Orthodox have little—and sometimes very little—trust in the state institutions charged with dealing with the pandemic,” noted Dr. Shuki Friedman.

“In sum, the ultra-Orthodox fully understand the gravity of the pandemic and its perils. Their behavior throughout these months has not stemmed from a lack of understanding of the threat, but rather from conscious choices deeply rooted in community values,” he said., 24 November 2020

Arno's commentary

The Ultra-Orthodox, Haredi group outright rejects the State of Israel. Under the title “Haredim and Zionism,” Wikipedia writes: 

From the founding of political Zionism in the 1890s, Haredi leaders voiced objections to its secular orientation, and before the establishment of the State of Israel, the vast majority of Haredi Jews were opposed to Zionism. This was chiefly due to the concern that secular nationalism would replace the Jewish faith and the observance of religion, and the view that it was forbidden for the Jews to re-constitute Jewish rule in the Land of Israel before the arrival of the Messiah. 

This is not surprising; during the first Aliyah in 1882 to 1903, more than half of the approximately 35,000 Jews returned to their land of origin. With the second Aliyah, however—mainly from Russia and Poland, in 1904-1940—the young communist-inspired Jews identified with the land and founded the kibbutz movement. Later, at the Declaration of the State of Israel, the strongest party, Mapam, proudly demonstrated their beliefs with the hammer and sickle as the symbol on their flag.

The Ultra-Orthodox are still waiting for the Messiah to establish Israel. Apparently, these Bible scholars have not carefully studied Ezekiel 36, which clearly shows that God causes the Jews to restore the land first, to produce an abundance of agricultural products. Only then will verse 27 be fulfilled: “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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