Rivlin: Hareidi Community Not a Minority

President Rivlin urges hareidi community to stop thinking in minority terms, become more involved in society at large at conference.

Shlomo Pitrikovsky , | updated: 1:47 PM

לא מיעוט. ריבלין
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צילום: חיים צח/ לע"מ

President Reuven Rivlin spoke at the International Joint (JDC) and Economics Ministry conference for hareidi employment Tuesday, where he noted that the hareidi community in Israel has ceased to be a minority. 

"One of the things I learned from my teachers is to separate fact and interpretation," Rivlin said. "The fact is that already at the moment, about one-fifth of all students in grades 1-6 are hareidi. One obvious conclusion from this is that the hareidi population is rising, and it is clear they are not a minority." 

"During the last Knesset, I watched some stormy arguments about laws concerning, among other things, Judaism. I listened attentively, to all speakers," he continued. "What stood out to my ears throughout these discussions, with all the arguments and the intensity of the debate, was that the understanding of all speakers involved were rooted in the past." 

"The non-Orthodox, which refers to the hareidi community as a minority, one that is growing, yes, but still a minority, thinks that it can dictate to the hareidi community as a minority - and determine for them how to manage their own lives, how to impose solutions on their communities, even if it is in contradiction to their worldview," he said.

"On the other hand - and perhaps as a result - the hareidi community refer to themselves as a minority under persecution, and has rushed to defend its values, its principles, its ability to survive against the supposedly secular dictatorship."

"These are the two sides - and they forgot to change the record," he said.

Rivlin urged the hareidi public at the event to become a greater part of Israeli society and work with other communities to develop a better mutual understanding between the two sides. 

"We bear equal responsibility for the future of the State of Israel," he said. "I do not want to formulate the answers, or solutions, for the hareidi community; it is not my job and not my place. But I want to know that the questions relating to the Israeli economy, Israeli society and the future of Israel, are also being asked by the hareidi community [i.e. that they are a part of society at large - ed.]."