Time Magazine Cover Story Focuses on Charedi, Secular “Battle for Jerusalem”


time-battle-for-jerusalem“Forty-five years after the last decisive contest for the city-the lightning push by Israeli forces who needed just two days of the Six-Day War to take the whole place – a new battle for Jerusalem is under way.” Thus begins the cover story in this week’s Time magazine which describes the new battle for Yerushalayim as a “grinding war of attrition” for the city’s identity.

Under the headline “The Ultra-Holy City” the magazine describes the “sophisticated” charedi conquest of Jewish neighborhoods, as part of a battle for the identity of the Jewish State.

The magazine interviewed charedi Elchanan Gibli who moved to the neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel three years ago and secular Noam Pinchasi, a veteran of the neighborhood.

The backdrop for the battle of Kiryat Yovel is the recent exodus of secular residents from Yerushalayim.

According to Time, some 20,000 have left  Yerushalayim the past seven years alone, reducing the share of the population “who wear their faith lightly” from a 37% plurality to a 31% minority, the same percentage as the ultra-Orthodox, but the number of ultra-Orthodox is rising.

The article treated the city as a case study for the identity of the State of Israel: “It’s a flight much of Israel is watching with concern bordering on alarm.”

The article describes the recent debate over the drafting of charedi yeshiva students to the IDF and claims: “The ultra-Orthodox, whose hermetic lifestyle may be based on preoccupation with the next world but whose political clout defines savvy in this one, also enjoy subsidies for child care, education and housing.

“The community’s power only grows with its numbers. Uncontained, it stands to fundamentally alter Israel’s identity.”

The magazine goes on to add: Three generations ago, the ultra-Orthodox were all but extinct. Their Lazarus-like comeback either threatens the fabric of Israel.

“This means not only side locks on men and wigs or scarves on women but also separating girls from boys as early as nursery school. It means barring smart phones, which can access licentiousness on the Internet. It means a host of things far more easily assured if everyone in town is pulling in the same direction.”

When Gibli moved to his current home three years ago, he was the first charedi in the building. Now charedim own four out of the eight apartments in the building.

In an interview to Time, Pinchasi said “This is a war over territory,” while stressing that he is not willing to give up on Kiryat Yovel’s secular identity.

“Our message is very strong and clear: This is not like Ramot, Ramot Eshkol, Neve Yaakov, Maalot Dafna,” he says, naming Jerusalem neighborhoods that started out secular and are now charedi. “Here it is going to be war.”

The magazine notes that Pinchasi’s “crusade” began after a pair of neighborhood pools banned mixed swimming during daylight hours and when unlicensed shuls appeared in homes and storefronts.

Time describes Pinchasi’s story as that of a man winning small battles but losing the war.

Religious Jews may account for less than 20% of the neighborhood’s 21,000 residents, but they keep arriving.

“Ten, 15 years from now, it’s all going to be ultra-Orthodox,” said one religious resident.


{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. “The magazine goes on to add: Three generations ago, the ultra-Orthodox were all but extinct.”
    Huh? Ultra-Orthodox have been in Israel ever since. It’s the secular who came to the Eretz Hakodesh not that long ago and they should please go back to where they came from before the entire holy land will get tainted with their filth and immorality. HASHEM YISHAMRENU!

    Even the grandparents from The New York Times self-hating Jewish editors were ultra-orthodox. STOP LYING!

  2. Dov,

    You should maybe brush up on your history.
    True, Yerushalayim (and Chevron) always had the Yishuv haYashan led by Rav Sonnenfeld, ZTvKl, but the only reason there is an “Eretz haKodesh” we can speak of today is because of the ‘secular’ Yishuv that, with Hashem’s help, fought the wars, drained the swamps and created the infrastructure that allows us to even have the disputes the article speaks about. The Yishuv haYashan barely subsisted from Tzeddakah from Europe and America.
    The phenomenon of “ultra-orthodox” that the article speaks of (in terms of political and communal organization) is a purely modern invention. The holy Chazon Ish ZTvKl, secured p’turim for about 600 tzurvei rabbanan.

  3. nebach! BH there is nothing going on in the world so lets discuss those primitive people that prepare for the world to come! Pathetic! I’m a “pioneer” in one of these neiborhoods and the hostility they have towards us is amazing. It took my mesorati neighbor 3! Years to respond to my good morning greeting. It’s the secular that are making the battle, the chareidim are not taking over they just need a place to go. If the secular would would have children (and stay in israel) they wouldn’t feel so indimidated

  4. This is just one of many examples of “the evil ones prepare but the (righteous) wear.”

    All that the misguided enemies of the Torah have built, they did so for the Torah Jews. Many of them and more of their children have returned to the ways of the Torah and it is now time for the obstinate one to leave and hand over their work to the rightful owners.

  5. Article is factual, accurate and informative.

    Remember Torah is pleasant, sweet and loving and use these pointers in behavior with “not yet religious” Jews.

  6. It was NOT the cover story; it was an inside feature. Get your facts right you so quick to always blame the media.

  7. “Man bites dog” is news.
    I have seen so much good will between chareidi and secular Jews. So many secular Jews are interested in connecting with Judaism and frum Jews. And so many chareidi Jews bend over backward to reach out the secular Jews in Jerusalem and all over Eretz Yisrael. We are all brothers and sisters and most all of us know this regardless of our religious background — except for a few extremists (i.e., Leftists and a so-called “chareidi” minority) and the media, who seem to have no clue and seek divisiveness.

  8. re torahisknowledge: yes, the article is factual. It details the factual exploits of Mr. Pinchasi, who we can daven will one day discover “deracheha darchei noam.” It briefly compared him to crackpots on the other side (those who harass children). I didn’t think that comparison was terrible as it simply mirrored crackpots, not said that all chilonim are like Mr. Pinchasi or all chareidim are child harassers.

    It was cute that there was a picture of Orthodox people at the beach. We look at that woman – whose kids, if they lived in the US, might go to school with mine – and scratch our heads because she’s clearly not Chareidi. It’s a great lesson – the olam lumps us all together anyway, why not just live b’achdus.