[The] recurrent leitmotif in ultra-Orthodox electoral messaging is “in line with Israeli Haredi school curricula” and its “contempt for civil society,” said Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, an organization that studies the content of textbooks across the Middle East…

“The big picture is that there is a definite clear and concerted effort to keep Haredi children behind the walls they built up and away from everything they consider bad, all the temptations of the modern world,” Sheff explained. “That is to say, civics and democracy are taught in a very restricted manner” and many of the ultra-Orthodox “are not given an expansive view of how civil society and democracy works and [about] individual choice in choosing representatives. Take away the civics and democracy education, and give ‘rabbis-know-best education’ and presto, you have a situation where large [numbers] of people will be very open to being told how to vote at election time.”

… Samuel Heilman, a professor of sociology at Queens College, [says:] “The basic orientation is that individuals are not the ones to make political decisions, because if they are, then the power brokers lose their capacity to in effect deliver a bloc vote and their greatest power and strength is their ability to deliver that … I think the idea of every person thinking for himself, whether politics or anything else, is very threatening to the Haredi community. It’s not about politics so much as independent thinking and decision-making, and that’s the real risk.”

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