Half of all those hospitalized with coronavirus in Israel are Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jews).

The key questions before the Haredi community (11% of all Israeli Jews – about 800,000 people) are who gets to decide public policy and who has the authority to determine the regulations with which all must comply?

Some of the basic principles that underlie the Haredi response to the virus that Rabbi Pfeffer elucidates include “suspicion of the State and its institutions, isolationism from non-Haredi society and culture, and a strongly institutionalized society. They are certainly not the whole.”

This article (5000 words) is long, but it is an inside look at how the extremist Israeli ultra-Orthodox community thinks vis a vis Jewish law and the secular state, and how the consequences affect all Israelis and the Israeli health-care system.

I am grateful to Rabbi Uri Regev, the founder of Hiddush in Jerusalem, who sent me and a few other rabbis this piece. It is an important essay.