Sunday, January 27, 2013

There are no Orthodox Jews in Israel

There are no Orthodox Jews in Israel

Leo Rennert

In reading New York Times and Washington Post dispatches about Israel's election, I was struck by the fact that neither paper seems to recognize that there are Orthodox Jews in the Jewish state's political firmament

Take for example, Joel Greenberg's day-after account in the Post, which mentions that a rising new centrist party demands an end to preferential treatment for tens out of thousands of "ultra-Orthodox" Jews. But not to "Orthodox Jews," it would seem. It will be difficult for Prime Minister Netanyahu, in cobbling together a governing coalition, to square centrist demands with those of "the ultra-Orthodox parties," Greenberg writes. Again, not a hint that there could be "Orthodox" Jewish leaders also vying for post-election advantages.

Curiously, no such "ultra" label is attached by Greenberg to centrist and leftist parties. For example, he reports that the new centrist party's platform resonated with "secular Israelis." And on the left, there is a resurgent ultra-less "leftist" party, Meretz. If there are "ultra-Orthodox" parties in the political mix, why not also "ultra-secular" and/or "ultra-leftist" parties?

Jodi Rudoren, the Times' Jerusalem bureau chief, similarly writes that "ultra-Orthodox" parties are facing new challenges from an ascending center. But as for far-left Meretz, no "ultra" there. In the eyes of the New York Times, Meretz is a "left-wing, pro-peace" party.

Could the Times' and Post's ultra-liberal and ultra-secular bent have anything to do with their use of the pejorative "ultra" label to describe only Orthodox Jews or Avigdor Lieberman's "ultra-nationalist" party. Is this their way of showing diisapproval of certain parties that don't march to the Times' or Post's tune?