Essay: Liberalism in Israel

Sample Essay

First and far most, the liberal state will stop being so the very moment it decides to abandon its neutrality in favor of one specific group of individuals while maintaining it with reference to others.  Secondly, this will further deepen the economic contradictions already existing within the Israeli society.  In “Sect, Subsidy and Sacrifice:  An Economist’s View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews,” Eli Berman4 has used statistical data to highlight the economic consequences of any fiscal interventionist policies that the state of Israel has followed in the past – or may possible follow in the future – to assist the ultra-orthodox community, as favored by Margalit and Halbertal.

Berman has specifically concentrated on the consequences of increased and sustained child support policies that have been followed by successive governments since 1975, and that have had a significant effect on the fertility rates being experienced in the Haredi community.  Furthermore, he highlights that these dramatic increases in fertility rates have been accompanied by an equally dramatic reduction in the community’s participation in economic activities and their share in the general labor supply.  Berman has used Iannaccone’s “club good approach”5 to explain this economic contradiction where a community continues to prosper despite dedicating the majority of its resources, specifically human resources, to nonproductive religious activities, as exemplified by Yeshiva attendance of ultra-orthodox men until the age of 40 on average.


4 Berman, Eli, “Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist’s View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 115, Issue 3, (August 2000), pp: 905-953.

5 Berman, Eli, “Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist’s View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 115, Issue 3, (August 2000), pp: 905-953.

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