JERUSALEM – A string of protests by ultra-Orthodox Jewish activists against Israel's compulsory military service has paralyzed Jerusalem in recent weeks in what their leaders had hoped would be a show of strength by the traditionally insular society.
But instead, the demonstrations reflect a desperate attempt by members of a vocal minority trying to preserve a lifestyle that is rapidly changing around them.
Widely seen as a drag on the country's economy, Israel's ultra-Orthodox world is being forced to adapt — with growing numbers embracing technology, pursuing higher education, entering the work force and even serving in the army.
Experts say tomorrow's ultra-Orthodox will look much different from today's.
Gidon Katz, an ultra-Orthodox Jew who runs an advertising and public relations agency in Jerusalem, predicts the change "will happen on its own."