Right-wing protests hold growing appeal for ultra-Orthodox men – opinion – The Jerusalem Post

The recent violent clashes in Jerusalem between Jews and Arabs, with extremist participants on both sides, have seen tensions in the capital raised to boiling point once again. But unlike similar cases in the past, participants in last Thursday’s demonstration at the Old City’s Damascus Gate also included a number of young men with an ultra-Orthodox appearance, who identify with the extremist right-wing ideology put forward by the Lehava organization. 

Though this handful of demonstrators is not representative of ultra-Orthodox society as a whole, it reflects a growing trend among young ultra-Orthodox men who have dropped out of ultra-Orthodox educational frameworks and are finding an outlet for their energies in stormy right-wing demonstrations. In the past, we were used to seeing violent demonstrations by extremist ultra-Orthodox groups protesting the compulsory draft to the IDF, now we may also have to get used to seeing ultra-Orthodox young men playing a prominent role in far-right protests.
But who are these young men, and why are they participating in these demonstrations?
First, it is important to understand the scope of the phenomenon. According to data from the Knesset Research and Information Center, registered dropout rates from ultra-Orthodox educational institutions for boys stood at 4.6% in 2018, compared with just 1.4% in the state education system. However, education professionals and experts believe that the scope of hidden or latent dropout – that is, not reported to the authorities – and which includes
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