The ultra-Orthodox do not understand the modern era because they do not understand the drift of the Biblical teachings. They failed to respond to the challenges of the Enlightenment because ultra-Orthodox did not have their own sense of the values the Enlightenment technologies were threatening.
The ultra-Orthodox could take only defensive action because their comprehension of the adversary was not well-equipped enough to take aggressive action.
Defensiveness is a symptom of ignorance and the self-involvement out of which that ignorance comes. Know your adversary is the first rule of intelligence.
The ultra-Orthodox do not know their adversary, as the Modern Orthodox do not know the ultra-Orthodox.