The end of the Third Temple
By Nehemia Shtrasler • Ha'aretz
The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, who crushed the revolt against him and banished most of the Jewish nation to Babylon. The Second Temple was destroyed by Titus, who quashed the great revolt of the Jews against the Romans and took many Jewish prisoners of war to Rome, where they were sold into slavery.
The Third Temple will not be destroyed by any world superpower. We will survive the conflict with the Palestinians and even the nuclear threats from Iran. But the increasing rupture between the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel will be the end of us. This is a Greek tragedy with a foregone conclusion.
It's a struggle between two contradictory worldviews that cannot exist side by side. A struggle between the democratic worldview, which stands for individual privacy, humanism, equality and the value of work, on the one hand, and the ultra-Orthodox way of life, which requires every Jew to live according to religious law and despise the secular state, its laws and values, on the other.
This is the basic reason for the recent riots in Jerusalem over the opening of a municipal parking lot on Shabbat and the abusive-mother affair. Because the instant you despise the laws of the Zionist state, you are free not only to call its policemen "Nazis," burn garbage containers, uproot traffic lights and throw stones at municipal workers, but also to feel good about it - because you screwed the heathens.
A yeshiva student told me that he once asked a rabbi if he could buy the reduced youth-fare bus ticket, although he was over 18. "After all, it's stealing from Egged [the bus cooperative]," he said. The rabbi didn't take long to reply that Egged was financed by the state, and the state steals taxes, so it's merely "getting back what was stolen." Therefore it's alright. This is the exact justification for the widespread phenomenon of tax evasion among the ultra-Orthodox.
The ultra-Orthodox harbor enormous contempt for the secular. They don't understand how secular people can agree to give up their principles for a foothold in the government. The truth, though, is even worse, because the secular close their eyes to the fact that their ship is about to crash into a huge iceberg.
The ultra-Orthodox have an organized agenda. They know exactly what they want - to provide their community with the best conditions, at the expense of the secular donkey. Let him work hard, pay taxes and risk his life in the army - after all someone has to protect the border. They themselves won't work or serve in the army, only extort more money. They will squeeze as much money as they can from the government and as many donations as possible from abroad - just like the Old Yishuv (the traditional Jewish communities in pre-state Israel).
The secular community, in its stupidity, is facilitating this dangerous process. It is allocating budgets to the ultra-Orthodox independent education system, although it teaches only Talmud - not mathematics, English, science, history or civics, subjects that would prepare them to work, earn a respectable living and get out of the cycle of poverty. The secular are a suicidal community, one that agrees to finance (indirectly) even the ever widening return-to-Orthodoxy industry.
The ultra-Orthodox community makes up some 10 percent of the state's population, but the number of their first-grade children constitute 25 percent of all pupils. In other words, their strength will only increase and a day will come when it will be impossible to establish a government without their participation.
But the larger their number, the wider the economic gap between them and the secular community will become, because the reward for education and knowledge is growing all the time. The secular population will have to support a growing, non-working community. So taxes, city rates and levies will increase. The secular ass will have to work harder and pay more taxes to provide for the needs of the ultra-Orthodox.
But even the ass has a limit to its strength. The young, high-income secular people will buckle first under the tax load. They will leave the country. Entrepreneurs will look elsewhere, high-tech and blue collar workers will leave to graze in foreign pastures. Thus it will be necessary to increase the taxes of all those who remain. Then more young people will leave, and so on and so on, until the Zionist dream drowns.
The State of Israel as we know it will become a weak, mostly ultra-Orthodox community, living off of handouts, tithes and donations. There will be no need for a Nebuchadnezzar or a Titus. We are destroying the Third Temple with our own hands.