…When asked "would you let your child marry an Ethiopian?" 63% answered they would gladly welcome the marriage while 19% said "absolutely not." Another 6% said they would be saddened but would not object.
Religious segmentation points at a different attitude: 61% of ultra-Orthodox respondents said they would vehemently object such a marriage. Only 25% would welcome an Ethiopian in-law.
That 25% of haredim would "welcome" an Ethiopian as a son- or daughter-in-law means that a large section of haredim surveyed view Ethiopian Jews as full Jews. This either means a disproportionate number of haredim interviewed are Sefardim or the question was understood by all to mean that the Ethiopian Jews in question were fully Jewish, either through conversion or through rabbinic affirmation. Either way, haredim are far more bigoted than average, as the rest of the results clearly show:
That 25% of haredim would "welcome" an Ethiopian as a son- or daughter-in-law means that a large section of haredim surveyed view Ethiopian Jews as full Jews. This either means a disproportionate number of haredim interviewed are Sefardim or the question was understood by all to mean that the Ethiopian Jews in question were fully Jewish, either through conversion or through rabbinic affirmation.
Either way, haredim are far more bigoted than average, as the rest of the results clearly show:
The second question examined the degree of familiarity respondents have with community members: 32% admitted they do not have any Ethiopian friends and that they do not know any Ethiopians with whom they could build friendships. 20% do know Ethiopians but have no Ethiopian friends and 34% said they or their children have such a friend.
Once again a religious segmentation points at a different trend in the ultra-Orthodox community: 72% don't have Ethiopian friend.Does the segregation in some of Petah Tikva schools reflect parents' wishes? 63% claim they have no problem sending their children to schools where 40% of the students are Ethiopians. On the other hand, 14% said they "would never" send their children to such institutions.
50% of ultra-Orthodox respondents said they would not send their children to such a school.Gesher director-general Shoshi Becker said that the findings are worrying and require immediate action: "It is difficult to understand how people who practice Judaism as a way of life choose to steer clear of Ethiopian immigrants.
Becker added that a Jewish-democratic society should view acceptance of the other as a challenge and a mission and convey a clear message to future generations: "This is our job as a society, a community and as individuals."
Haredim are the most racist and bigoted subset of Jews in Israel. Anecdotal evidence points to the same result for haredim worldwide. In the infamous words of a Chabad shaliach, spoken to me in 1983 Hadar Hatorah's summer program for college students, "Why are you waisting your time helping helping schvartes?"
For every Rabbi Moshe Feinstein or Rabbi Ovadia Yosef there were – and still are – hundreds of rabbis like this one, like his mentor, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and like the racists and bigots of Borough Park, Williamsburg, Kiryas Joel, Monsey, Manchester, Antwerp and beyond.
Haredism survives by creating ghettos and by demonizing the Other. It is at its core a racist and bigoted. Haredism cannot change because to change would mean to end haredism – you can't suddenly start being friendly and welcoming to the Other you demonize and still maintain ghetto walls.
Historically the ghetto was imposed on Jews from the outside. We were forced to live isolated lives because the dominant, usually Christian, rulering class did not want their "pure" populace mixing with "impure" Jews.
How sad and how ironic it is that "fervently religious" Jews, haredim, have made this non-Jewish racism and bigotry their own.