[T]here’s a deeper issue which makes the Haredim particularly exposed [to coronavirus]. Their deep belief that they can’t be taught anything. There’s nothing new under the sun. That they were always here, learning Torah, and survived despite everything. So don’t tell them about COVID-19 and doctors. They have the best medicine, which science can never improve on. They call it Torah magna u’matlza – Torah protects and saves. But it’s not Torah, it’s the belief in continuity. 

Continuity is the biggest ultra-Orthodox myth. Their belief that their way of life is the thousands year-old Jewish tradition, and that all Jews in all time aspired to, until foreign ideas muddled them, was to study Torah their entire lives. Of course, this is an invention. 

The Haredi ideology of voluntarily closing their community off from the world is about 200 years old and came about as a reaction to enlightenment and emancipation. The practice of every man studying Torah all day, every day, only exists from the mid-1950s when the concentration of most ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel and the U.S. allowed them to live while learning, at poverty-level, but to live, in welfare societies.

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Israel’s largest hospital has now banned haredim from its emergency room.

“When I see a Haredi person, I immediately think he has coronavirus,” a senior health official [comments]. “This is the right thing to do, it is our obligation to do it this way.”

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