Concerned about the Body or the Soul? The Pandemic, the Ultra-Orthodox Milieu, and the Israeli Space

Tuesday | 09.03.21 | 19:00

A Panel Discussion | 

Almost from the start of the coronavirus crisis in Israel, deep differences appeared between the ultra-Orthodox population and the rest of the population regarding everything involved in contending with the pandemic. There are many reasons for these differences, including social, historical, and ideological factors. However, while the health system is on the verge of collapse, the economy is paralyzed, and the number of dead is growing, Israelis who are not ultra-Orthodox find it increasingly difficult to understand the behavior of parts of the ultra-Orthodox population. In a group in which one of the fundamental values is the protection of life, what causes thousands of its members to knowingly endanger themselves, their relatives, and many others? In the discussion we will attempt to answer this question and to think about how, after the crisis, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox and non-ultra-Orthodox inhabitants can return to sharing the civil space—a space in which prior to the pandemic they succeeded in maintaining a coexistence characterized by both differences and cooperation. How, if at all, will it be possible to heal the rift that seems to be growing?


Chair: Ido Harari, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Menahem Nabet, Teaches and writes on topics of Torah and Jewish thought and philosophy

Dr. Rivka Neria-Ben Shahar, Sapir Academic College

Prof. Ishai Rosen Zvi, Tel Aviv University; research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem

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