No Surprise: Orthodox Rabbis Fear Media, Against Free Press

Ynet reports on a comprehensive study done on Israeli rabbis from all affiliations:

…The research showed that 95 percent of Orthodox rabbis believe that the press significantly hurts religious values, while only 31 of the non-Orthodox rabbis supported this claim.…

The research also examined the rabbis’ exposure to the daily newspapers, and revealed that half of the haredi rabbis do not read a daily paper.

The rabbis were also asked whether they believe that the media should report on crimes committed by rabbis. While all Reform and Conservative rabbis replied positively to the question, only 23 percent of haredi rabbis and 59 percent of national-religious rabbis gave a positive reply.

Most of the rabbis said they support the public’s right to know: 97 percent of Reform and Conservative rabbis, 77 percent of the national-religious rabbis, 45 percent of haredi-national rabbis and 41 percent of haredi rabbis, agreed “to a large extent” or to a “very large extent” with the public’s right to know.…

Non-Orthodox rabbinic views seem to parallel views of society at large, endorsing freedom of the press and related concepts. Orthodox rabbis from all camps oppose press freedoms, especially reporting on rabbinic crimes. Might that be because they have more crimes to hide?

Also quite troubling are the responses of hardal (haredi-dati-leumui) rabbis on the public’s right to know. Look carefully here:

77 percent of the national-religious rabbis, 45 percent of haredi-national rabbis and 41 percent of haredi rabbis, agreed “to a large extent” or to a “very large extent” with the public’s right to know.

Hardal rabbis respond almost exactly like haredi rabbis, further proof of the erosion of moderate voices in Israeli Orthodoxy.

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Filed under Haredim, Israel, Jewish Leadership, Modern Orthodoxy

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