The results of the 2013 election represent the desires of a large population in Israel that wants equality in the sharing of the national burden, whether that burden be military or financial. But those who seek to save the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) from themselves (because that is what the average secular Israeli thinks they are doing by insisting that the haredim serve in the military and join the workforce), should be careful of how they carry out this redemption. Even if their desire to force everyone to exercise the right to serve their country is sincere.
Without a doubt, the haredi population — which is the object of all the criticism — could be seven times more productive without the steamroller of Lapid's 19 mandates. In fact, the largest pool of future Zionists can currently be found within the haredi community, which is undergoing significant changes even if these changes aren't put on display. Therefore, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) Chairman Yair Lapid would be wise to remember that the responsibility on his shoulders is best expressed by a more cautious approach to reality. No one expects party leaders to implement every last clause of their platform. Even Lapid's biggest fans would understand that.
The greatest contribution the haredim could make to the economy and military would be through instilling Jewish pride. This is because the haredi community has a proven ability to teach and transmit values. Indirectly, this infusion of Jewish pride would swell the ranks of Israel's combat units, and this would make things much easier for the IDF, which currently struggles to recruit sufficient volunteers for its most dangerous units. After all, as any top officer will tell you, it is not practically feasible for the army to absorb all eligible young men in one fell swoop. The education system, too, would need to invest in serious preparations if we are to require haredim to study core subjects like Math and English. Israel's brain trust of teachers of these subjects is nothing to write home about.
Social solidarity is a paramount virtue for everyone. Rather than gloat over his victory, Lapid should adopt a moderating approach. Great things could sprout in Israeli society if the workforce integration of haredim and sharing of the military burden were undertaken willingly, and not coerced.
The increase to our per capita gross national product will be enormous if we adopt this approach, which will simultaneously employ those who study Torah for a living. Solidarity, not confrontation, is so powerful that it can forestall a religious-secular war. There is no greater blessing than that.