Abstract

ABSTRACT:

All democracies grapple with the challenge of fostering the inclusion of marginalized minorities. Israel faces a looming economic crisis constituted by the growing population of Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox Jews) living under the poverty line. Israel's Council on Higher Education (CHE or Malag) instituted a program to integrate Haredi students into Israeli universities, and ultimately, the workforce. But the CHE plan capitulates to the Haredi claim of a "cultural right" to study in gender-segregated classrooms with male faculty, appearing to give the imprimatur of the state to gender discrimination and prompting a lawsuit that is languishing before the High Court. Detractors perceive the CHE plan as part of a broader agenda intended to dismantle liberalism, replace civil law with Torah law and erase the distinction between religion and state. Conversely, Haredim and their supporters accuse the plan's critics of mounting an attack on the Torah way of life through a campaign of forced secularization. The case occupies the intersection where the liberal commitment to individual rights collides with multicultural accommodation, bringing into sharp relief dilemmas at the core of democracy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-201x
Print ISSN
1084-9513
Pages
pp. 29-56
Launched on MUSE
2021-03-26
Open Access
No
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