Essay: Haredim; Liberalism, community and culture

Sample Essay

Basing their arguments on Kymlicka’s “Liberalism, community and culture,” Margalit and Halbertal3 argue that even though the Haredim espouse an illiberal value system, sharply at contrast with the liberal aspirations of the modern Jewish state of Israel, the state still has an obligation towards this segment of this society to protect their way of life and to enable them to live in accordance with their cultural and religious beliefs.  They believe that in doing so, the liberal state has to abandon its neutrality in matters of societal nature in favor of the minority community while remaining neutral towards the dominant community groups.  This, in turn, means actively assisting, protecting and promoting the Haredi population through legislative and fiscal measures that may qualify as interventionist in nature.

They base their arguments on the principle of a community’s right to culture stating that because of their size – further complemented by their concentration in certain geographical locations – the Haredi population has a right to be allowed to maintain its way of life within these locations with their activities only limited by the principle of harm.  Furthermore, they do not only support the judicial and educational autonomy at the group’s disposal, but also state that the government should actively support their way of life, for example, large families and active participation in non-economic activities, through fiscal assistance.

3 Ibid

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