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JOURNALIST YAIR ETTINGER first coined the term “new ultra-Orthodox” some 20 years ago. At the time, he was referring to those ultra-Orthodox Jews who were fed up with a life of ascetic isolationism and therefore decided to integrate into the day-to-day economic life of modern Israel. The group has grown by leaps and bounds since then.

More members of the ultra-Orthodox community began serving in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), pursuing academic studies and integrating into the workforce. Now, the non-ultra-Orthodox parties are starting to recognise the untapped electoral potential of these new ultra-Orthodox.

One factor that really expedited the integration of the ultra-Orthodox into Israeli society was Netanyahu’s decision a decade ago, when he served as finance minister, to shrink social security benefits.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics and other studies, the number of ultra-Orthodox men in the workforce grew from 27% in 2011 to a record 53% in 2016. The number of working women increased even more, from 56% in 2010 to 75% in 2016.

FULL STORY Israel’s ‘new ultra-Orthodox’ (Al-Monitor)

Photo: Amir Cohen (Reuters)

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