Who are the ultra-Orthodox? Poor but with apartments, surfing the Internet and with a computer • Extensive survey

When the State of Israel is already less than 100 days away from the elections, and the coalition talks are at their peak, the polls speak of the ultra-Orthodox bloc as the one that will tip the balance this time, the ultra-orthodox research company Askaria analyzed the CBS data in order to examine who the ultra-Orthodox bloc is and what characterizes them.

Where do the ultra-Orthodox live?

The ultra-Orthodox population in Israel constitutes only 13% of Israelis, yet the ultra-orthodox growth rate is double that of the secular population due to a high fertility rate and young age of marriage and childbirth and is expected to double its size every 16 years (compared to 37 years in the general population)

However, they prefer to live in homogenous cities populated mainly by ultra-Orthodox or at least in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and in ultra-Orthodox areas within mixed cities leading a similar lifestyle, 43% of the ultra-Orthodox population is concentrated in only 7 central cities. The “capital cities” of the sector are Jerusalem and Bnei Brak (43% of the ultra-Orthodox live in these communities) but while Bnei Brak is an ultra-Orthodox city (92% of its residents are ultra-Orthodox) Jerusalem is a mixed city, the ultra-Orthodox make up only 29% of all residents, and about 50% of the Jewish population in the settlement . Other cities with an ultra-Orthodox majority are cities that were established since the 1990s for the ultra-Orthodox population, such as Beitar Elit (99.2% ultra-Orthodox residents), Modi’in Elit (99.7%), Raksim (91.2%), Elad (89.3%) and Beit Shemesh (69.7%). Apart from them, there are 2 cities with a significant ultra-Orthodox population even though they do not constitute a majority in it, and they are Safed (44.6%) and Nativut (42.1%). Smaller concentrations also exist in large cities such as Ashdod, Petah Tikva, Haifa, Rehovot Netanya and Tel Aviv. These are cities where there is an old ultra-Orthodox settlement that grew stronger due to waves of ultra-Orthodox youth migrating to the city, but despite the increase, it is a small percentage.

below the poverty line and buy an apartment and sometimes two

Over a fifth of the families in Israel (22%) are below the poverty line, but in the ultra-Orthodox population, due to the size of the ultra-Orthodox family, the low proportion of working men and the low wages that characterize most of the sector, this rate is double and stands at 44% of families that are below the poverty line, but the poverty Does not affect the life expectancy which is similar to that of the general population and stands at 82 years: for example, the best cities for longevity in the sector are Modi’in Elit (85.1 years), Jerusalem (83.2 years) and Bnei Brak (83.1 years). Beit Shemesh is similar to the national average with 82.8 years and in Bithar Elit the life expectancy is only slightly lower than the national average with 81.8 years. Studies have examined why poverty and happiness do not affect the index of happiness and longevity in the sector and found that in ultra-Orthodox society there is social capital, that is, it is built from social support circles that numb the feeling of poverty, and help in a crisis.

“An ultra-Orthodox elder, instead of being cooped up within the 4 walls of his house for whole days, is required to leave his house 3 times a day in order to pray” explains Dodi Dror of Menchal Askaria “During these times he meets members of the community and family who alleviate the feeling of loneliness, and maintains ongoing cognitive activity in Torah studies and the prayer”

The proportion of apartment buyers in the sector is similar to the proportion of apartment owners in the general population which stands at 74% and 8% of them even owned more than one apartment. The city where the percentage of apartment owners is even higher is Modi’in Elit with 83.1%, followed by Bitar Elit with 77.2% of the ultra-Orthodox. In Beit Shemesh (to 70.9%) and Bnei Brak (70.7%) a similar rate of apartment ownership. Jerusalem closes the list, with 56.1% owning an apartment, well below the national average.

Car accidents – ultra-Orthodox children are injured much more

Drivers in the ultra-Orthodox society are involved in slightly more traffic accidents (717 per 100,000 licensed drivers) than drivers from non-Orthodox Jewish society (677). However, in 2017, ultra-Orthodox were injured in car accidents (7%) less than their share in the population. When looking at the rate of casualties from traffic accidents in the ultra-Orthodox cities, it is found that Elad and Bnei Brak lead with 0.9 casualties in traffic accidents per thousand people, followed by Beit Shemesh with a rate of 0.4 casualties, Elad, Nativ and Safed with 0.3 casualties per thousand people and at the bottom are Beitar Ilit with a rate of 0.2 casualties and Ridges and Elite Intelligence with 0.1 casualty rate per thousand people.

It is important to note that ultra-Orthodox children up to the age of 14 are seriously injured (killed or seriously injured) in car accidents more than the group of non-Orthodox Jews, mainly as pedestrians. In 2017, out of 100,000 ultra-Orthodox children, 8.5 ultra-Orthodox children were injured as pedestrians.

Obesity – Orthodox children are fatter

The chance of an ultra-Orthodox youth getting diabetes is 1.5 times higher than a non-Orthodox youth. The leading city in the rate of diabetes is Netivot with 63 per thousand people followed by Beitar Ilit (61.2). At a similar rate, they are followed by Bnei Brak 56.3, Elad 56 and Jerusalem 56.1. The cities at the bottom of the table with less than half of the ultra-Orthodox residents with diabetes are Safed 48.2 and Modi’in Elit 46. The leading cities in child obesity are Jerusalem 32% and Safed 30 and Beit Shemesh 29% and Raksim 28%. They are followed by Beitar Elit, Bnei Brak and Elad with a similar percentage of 24% and the city with the lowest childhood obesity is Modi’in Elit with 18%.

Haredim surf the internet?

In the ultra-orthodox sector, 60% percent have a computer at home (compared to 85% in the general sector), due to strict community norms regarding computer use and even more regarding internet use. The percentage of people connected to the Internet at home is 44%, but about 66% use the Internet probably some of them do it at work or with relatives, etc. In Bnei Brak, one of the ultra-Orthodox capital cities, 68% of the ultra-Orthodox use a computer and 71.9% use the Internet, in Beit Shemesh a slightly lower percentage of computer users (66%) but 78% use the Internet. In Jerusalem, only 57.2% own a computer, but the highest percentage of Internet users is 84.5%.


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