Israel’s Serbanistas

satu lagi article by wan Chawan. Artikel terdahulu di SINI dan SINI.

Israel’s Serbanistas

In Malaysia people, and by people here I mean the liberals, are annoyed by what they consider “orthodox Muslim”. Some call them “Serbanistas”.

They should be glad they’re not living in Israel, among the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Ok I’m not supposed to make comparison and state things like “you’re lucky our Orthodox Muslim people here in Malaysia is nothing compared to the Arab countries, Israel, Africa or even our South East Asian neighbours”. Consider those place, I can safely say we are pampered (manja la awak ni).

But to heck with it. I want to tell the story of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish people and I want you to relate them to what we have here in this country.

These ultra-Orthodox Jewish people are called Haredi. The Haredi community does not take their religious beliefs lightly, at all (if you want to know about them, Google ‘Haredi’). I’ll make this brief.

They impose separation of gender in busses – even if you enter the bus as husband and wife, the wife must take a seat at the back of the bus.

Woman’s dressing is also taken seriously - very, very seriously. Once, a girl in Beit Shemish went to school (a school for girls) adjacent to Haredim apartments and was shouted at as well as ridiculed for wearing long skirts and loose-fitting, long sleeve shirts – but no stockings.

A twelve-year old girl was called “prutza” which can be translated as “whore”. The twelve-year old girl comes from a modern Orthodox family.

Yes, six to twelve-year olds were the qualms that these Haredi male refer to as “impurities”.

The worst thing is, these Haredi community does not contribute much to the nation, economically and militarily. They are some of the poorest people with 60% of them living below the poverty line. 65% of their working-age man does not have a job. Most of them just spend their days in the seminary.

Their kids don’t study math, science or even English, they study the Torah and Talmud.

As Israel made it compulsory to join military service, the Haredi community is, in a way, luckier as they are exempted. That decision came as a political one but ultimately it hurts the non-Orthodox Jews because the way I see it, once you get the upper hand in such a military state (upper hand in this case is by not having to join the military) you kind of control your own destiny and the nation’s.

And because this community is growing at such a healthy rate (by healthy I mean ‘fertile’) they may be the king-maker in the very near future. Haredi make up more than 10 percent of Israel’s population, but their fertility rate is at a whopping three times more than other Israeli Jews. Demographers say that in 20-years, 1 out 5 people in Israel would be ultra-Orthodox.

So, to recap; they don’t contribute to the economy, they don’t contribute to the military, they live off welfare, they don’t use the internet (at least even Osama Bin Laden used the internet), they ridicule young children for not wearing stockings and the community is growing rapidly.

Our “Serbanistas” don’t seem so bad now right?

This entry is based on the article “The (Ultra-Ortodox) Jewish State?” in the January 9 & 16 issue of Newsweek. The Haredi are poor people just like many other people in this world help. Some places are worst as they are constantly barraged by natural disasters which are not optional (unlike education for example). Some people help out by visiting while some help by other means. How do you help them?


  1. Assalamualaikum

    "Their kids don't study math, science or even English, they study the Torah and Talmud."

    Few times dengar motivasi, selalu dimuatkan dengan "Apa ayat Quran utk buat Proton Saga" ..pastu bagi jawapan di atas...pastu semua gembira...
    then lately ada statement "x ya baca buku kafir..baca Quran cukup"..

    Ayat 3-4 Surah Al Fiil selalu dijadikan point "dari situ jet pejuang dicipta Barat"..then semua feel contented.
    Pastu beli Mig dari Russia.
    pastu keluar statement "x ya baca buku kafir..baca Quran cukup"..

    Gua x paham kenapa jadi begini.

    1. salam..

      memang tak masuk akal,tak pernah pula Rasulullah s.a.w. halang kita belajar ilmu walaupun yang tak diajar dalam Quran. kalau tak boleh jadi macam puak Haredi ni yang hanya mengharapkan huluran kerajaan je..negara Israel yang maju dan berteknologi tinggi,nobel laureate boleh kata tiap2 tahun ada wakil pun risau masa depan diorang..


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