Do you think Israel should force the Charedim to serve in the army?

idf protest

In my mind it seems to be a cut and dry issue, a country that is constantly on the brink of war and destruction at the hands of the Arabs surrounding them needs to have a draft in order to protect itself. Everyone, save for a few schmucks who are draft dodgers should serve, right? I remember when I first heard the sad fact that “not all Orthodox Jews supported Israel” it was a weird thing to hear, I first heard those lines when I was in yeshiva. I remember wonder how they could get exemptions by merely sitting in yeshiva and I was told time and time again that the yeshiva world believed that the IDF was only successful in their endeavors because of the yeshiva guys.

It made no sense at the time to me and it still doesn’t. However, I don’t want to be another self hating blogger to just jump on the bandwagon of charedi hating. I want to love my fellow Jews, I seek to understand this whole debate that seems to be tearing us apart.

The debate seems to have been raging for years, pick up any book about the shtetl days of yore and you will see countless stories of the pre-war gedolim closing down yeshivas rather than allowing secular education and getting their students to flea the area in order to avoid being drafted into the army. The extreme religious views that we see with regards to this draft debate are nothing new. It is just odd as heck to be protesting against a Jewish state of all things. A state which lets you practice your religion in peace, but peace isn’t free. Peace comes at a price and in this situation it requires that young folks do their fare share.

Now what I want is for someone to make me see the light and love my fellow brothers and sisters again. I want someone to inform me that I’m just a hater and I need to see that Hashem expects all of those charedim to be in yeshiva, out of the army, and protesting things that matter like closing stores on shabbos and getting the gays out of Jerusalem.

Or is it just another debatable chillul hashem?

 

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  • A. Nuran

    I’ll be completely serious:
    Yes. The Charedim should have to undergo military service just like anyone else.
    Calling it “Charedi hatred” or screeching “They’re outlawing toyreh study!” and comparing anyone who is in favor of this to Haman and Hitler is despicable, disgusting and a pure-quill 200 proof chillul hashem.

    What the government was trying to do – until Bibi rammed his tongue a full cubit up UTJ and Shas’ tochis – was make the Charedim shoulder exactly the same burden as everyone else. For just a few months, once in their lives, they would have to be just like everyone else, no special privileges, work for a living, contribute as if they were regular Israeli citizens. To call this “hatred” or “persecution” is completely insane.

    But that can never be allowed to happen. Charedi leaders know what they can’t say publicly. Their lifestyle and worldview depend completely on absolute obedience and cannot survive exposure to any unauthorized thought. If they realized the rest of the world doesn’t envy them it would be a huge blow. If they found out that people outside their communities were at least as happy as they it would be a terrible shock. And if they were allowed to see that others had ideas worth considering it would knock the keystone out of the arch.

    • Anonymous

      well said!

  • Amrilusaguy

    No they all do not have to serve in the Army and no it isnt about that. They all have to serve – dont want to do the army, there is sherut leumi and sherut ezrachi set up special for haredim and their needs.
    They need to do something so after that they can go and work.
    In the OECD about 75-77% of those who can work between 18-65 do work. In israel that number is only 55%, haredi men and arab women who are very under represented in the work force MUST go out and work otherwise the country will collapse under the weight of all of those who are not working and paying into the system be it betuach leumi or the various kupot cholim.

    So it isnt about just the army, it is about joining the workforce.

  • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

    Wow, two good and informative comments. Thanks.

  • http://scarpeta.blogspot.com Scarpeta

    If they serve, the IDF could add a battalion, which would mean that they could reduce Reserve Duty, which is super costly. Whether the IDF needs a bigger or smaller army is another story.

  • Milhouse

    Learning Torah is the only true protection the country has, and chayolei beis dovid belong in front of a sefer, not holding a gun.

    The Rebbe thought highly of those whose role in life is to be soldiers, just as he did of those who are plumbers and firemen and all kinds of other useful and necessary occupations, but none of them come close to the importance of full-time limud hatorah.

    • Amrilusaguy

      what total narishkeit

      • Chava

        Mr Milhouse, people don’t don’t think that their son’s lives are worth less than yours. The sad truth is that every year Israeli soldiers die protecting their country and in training accidents. You won’t die leaning over your books.HOW DARE YOU compare our soldiers to plumbers . I am a mother of Israeli soldiers and your comments are offensive to the extreme. It seems like you are a coward, especially when so many soldiers learn Torah and serve in the Army. The exclusive Torah learners have had 3 generations to teach the Israeli public about the beauty of our religion and they have failed MISERABLY, The average Israeli takes note of the total lack of derech Eretz that the full time learners have in comparison to the Hilonim. Our boys who serve in the army AND learn are a light to the nation. And By the way, please inform us why the full time learners don’t have time to utter a prayer for the soldiers now and then. The lack of Hakarat Hatov in your letter is a chillul hashem

        • Anonymous

          well said!

    • A. Nuran

      Then why do the Charedim keep their yeshivot far away from danger? If they really believe regurgitating Gemara protects them they could sit out on the front lines with their seforim in complete safety.

      They don’t. They know this is a lie. But these parasites are happy to let other families make the sacrifice. Every breath they take (and every bite of food they eat) is only theirs because better men and women shoulder that burden for them. Do they show any gratitude for this charity? Do they thank the soldiers who keep them alive? No. They quite literally spit on and curse them and demand more.

    • Shragi

      1. Who’s the Rebbe?
      2. So was this rebbe happy to have most of klal yisroel remain chiloni? If not then how did he decide whose “role in life” was to be in the army, whose it was to be a plumber and whose it was to be a fireman?

      Sounds like a typical old fashioned intellectual elitist attitude, nothing original or deep about it.

      • Anonymous

        I think it’s the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

    • Critic

      Millhouse your’e a complete idiot. To compare the role of the soldiers of Tzha’l to plumbers, fireman and all other useful and necessary occupations is a pile of unadulterated BS and misrepresents the Rebbe’s openly expressed thoughts on this matter.

      After the Operation Entebbe rescue, in a public talk on 16 August 1976, The Lubavitcher Rebbe applauded the courage and selflessness of the IDF, “who flew thousands of miles, putting their lives in danger for the sole purpose of possibly saving the lives of tens of Jews”. He said “their portion in the Hereafter is guaranteed”. He was later vilified by ultra haredi rabbis for publicly praising the courage of irreligious, Zionist soldiers and suggesting that G-d chose these people as a medium through which he would send deliverance to the Jewish people.He protested vehemently against those elements within the ultra haredi society who sought to undermine the motivations and actions of the soldiers.

      The Rebbe elevated the Israeli soldier to the level of tzadik, a righteous person risking his life for the protection of another Jew. He sent his Shiluchim into battlefields and remote army posts to care for the physical and spiritual needs of these brave defenders of Israel. And their widows and orphans are remembered many times each year with special programs instituted by the Rebbe. In addition there are many Chabadnics in Israel who serve in the army.

  • Izzy

    Yes….absolutely these leeches should serve. In the US, when we had a Draft, we had a conscientious objector option (CO) where COs were still required to serve our country in non-combatant roles.

    When the Jihadis enter Mea Shearim, it will be way too late for the Charedim to hide behind their Torahs.

    So my take, the Charedim should either serve their country or expect to not receive any governmental support.

  • Seriously?

    Israel does not need more soldiers! The high-tech battlefield has very little use for more grunts. That is why they now call so much of it “national service”. Israel is inevitably going to move to a career army (like the US) because they need more highly trained specialists, not bodies on 2-3 year assignments.

    So the Charedi have a point when they see this law as only being about assimilating the observant. The army is a *socializing* force, and a weapon for secular Israel to use to break down the shtetl walls.

  • Seriously?

    BTW, I agree with all those who think that citizens should not receive any government support if they are not contributing.

  • Seriously?

    The army does not need more bodies. The army needs career soldiers, specializing as the US Army does. And as a result many are turned away into other things.

    The purpose of this law is NOT to make the charedim serve. It is to assimilate them into society. It is a weapon to break down the walls of the shtetl.

    Note that ALL of the volunteer groups like Hatzolas and the like are founded and run by charedim.

    • A. Nuran

      If the Army doesn’t need everyone, then it doesn’t have to take everyone. That does not mean one group gets exempted just because they cosplay Jew-hating Poles and are illiterate in the Nation’s official language. It means they get to have the same chance of serving as everyone else. It means a few more “chilonim” and Orthodox Jews who love their country won’t be put in harm’s way.

    • A. Nuran

      Israel has had universal service since its founding. You want to end that simply because you believe one group should be privileged, that their lives are worth more than people who aren’t quite like you. That sort of thinking is execrable.

      • Anonymous

        Well said as usual A. Nuran

      • Seriously?

        The only reason you think the lives of others is valuable is because of the Torah. Religions without it consider human life much more expendable.

        You want it both ways: to value all life and bash the Torah in the same breath.

        • Think For Yourself

          Lol people don’t value life because of the Torah. The Torah that talks of slaves, genocide, sacrafices, burning and stoning people alive? That silly ole book of violent fairytales?

  • Milhouse

    The gemoro says clearly that talmidei chachomim don’t need protection. The Torah says the opposite. The Torah says it is FORBIDDEN to draft talmidei chachomim, and anyone who does so will be punished. End of story. It is exactly like breaking shabbos or eating chazer.

    • A. Nuran

      Horseapples and splinters. Even priests fought in defense of Israel. Rav Slifkin has covered all of this in tedious detail over on Rationalist Judaism.

    • http://yeshivadaze.wordpress.com Shragi

      And who’s a talmid chochom? Every am haaretz sitting in yeshiva?

    • Izzy

      Milhouse, perhaps you should move your wife and kids to the occupied territories and see what the gemoro says then.

    • Yochanan

      So is every Charedi a Talmid Chacham?

    • Amihai

      Wait, the Torah says it is forbiddent to draft talmidei chachamim ?
      So do we have to conclude that Yeoshua and all his talimidim weren’t talmidei chachamim ??
      And Moshe himself, as Rashi explains, wanted so much to join the fight that’s why it was so hard for him to stand with his arms up, so are you saying that the charedim for not even wanting to go to war are better and holier than Moshe Rabeinu ?
      And what about the whole Neviim and Ketuvim ? David too wasn’t a talimd chacham ?

      And what about the Gemara about the danger for the chachamim of going alone at night ?

  • Maryland Maidel

    PSA: Guys, I don’t think Milhouse is serious.

  • Rabbi

    the main reason Satmar Brisk etc oppose the State of Israel is because we see it that Zionism is dangerous – all 20,000 holy Jews who died in wars since 1948 would either still be alive or have lived long lives if the State of Israel never existed – i do not believe that Haredim who accept money from the State should be exempt, but they should serve as chaplains etc – however the current IDF is all about assimilation not defense – even most Dati Leumi who go into the army don’t come out frum – if the army or other national service were kosher then it would be ok to draft the regular Agudah type Haredim as they have no excuse because they vote and take money – but Satmar and Brisk don’t take money so they should have conscientious objector status like the Quakers did when the US had a draft

    But what is happening now is more and more yeshivos are not taking money from the Israeli government – and i think that is a good thing

    • Anonymous

      The Yeshivas aren’t taking money–but they live in a nation that provides roads, police protections, fire departments, medical care, food regulations, national defense, etc. Every sovereign state has a right to require some basic level of military or public service from it’s citizens, even concienscous objectors. If these guys really believe in non-violence, let them serve as medics and chaiplans. If their yiddishkeit and belief system is so weak that they cannot participate in civil society without fear of losing it, that’s a problem with their religious upbringing that needs to be addressed.

    • G*3

      My understanding is that Israel has universal conscription (except for Chareidim). If it’s true that most Dati Leumi men and women who serve in the IDF “don’t come out frum,” then why hasn’t the DL community completely disappeared by now?

      “Conscientious objector” has traditionally meant someone whose religious beliefs prevented him from killing another person, and conscientious objectors were subject to the draft, but given non-combat roles. Conscientious objector does not mean someone who objects to serving in the military all together because his leaders are afraid that his indoctrination won’t survive contact with the real world.

      • Anonymous

        lol well said

    • Amrilusaguy

      Rabbi, you say, “even most Dati Leumi who go into the army don’t come out frum”

      Do you have facts and figures and numbers?

      do you know that most of the cadets in Israel’s officer candidate school are religious?

      did you know that recently the left has woken up to see that today more than half of the officer core in the army is religious and this scares them?

    • Jeffrey

      I beg to differ with you. All of these groups (their protests to the contrary) take from the government. Maybe they have private buses, but those buses travel on public roads. They use the same government supported medical systems and hospitals. they benefit from government supported food banks. The long and short of it is that you don’t know what you are talking about. I drive on average 150 miles a day throughout ISRAEL. I routinely pick up hitchhikers of all streams, and believe me. The hareidim have NO answer to what I posit. They all take, and they should all serve.

    • Titanium

      I’m not going to rehash the points about what charedim DO take from the government.

      Satmar does not object to the state of Israel because Jews have been killed defending it. They object on the basis of a Gemara that they consider to prohibit any attempt to establish a Jewish state before the Mashiach comes.

      Yes, Zionism is dangerous. So was observing the Torah in medieval France, communist Russia, and Nazi Germany.

      “Even most Dati Leumi who serve in the army don’t come out frum.”
      I beg to differ. Like you, I don’t have any official statistics on this- but i do know hundreds of Hesder graduates who have served in the army and remain intensely religious. The DL community, over the past few decades, has become aware that Hesder service isn’t for everyone, which has led to frameworks such mechinot. Mechina graduates serve as much or more time as any other Israeli, often as officers and/or in elite units, and most remain committed to Jewish observance. If the IDF is about assimilation, then it is remarkably unsuccessful…

      It’s important to note that some frum guys go OTD in the army, but on the other hand, some chilonim become religious in the army (or as a result of encounters they had while in the army.) Whenever you have people from different backgrounds together, they get to know each other, and sometimes they (gasp!) make a better-informed decision about how they want to spend their life. And the majority, who don’t change their lifestyles, nonetheless wind up knowing more about other parts of the nation, and generally have more respect for them. It’s almost as though having people work together for the collective good promotes unity and respect in Am Yisrael! Who’da thunk it?

      Furthermore, let’s say for argument’s sake that you’re right and that the army tends to cause people to go OTD. When has that been a reason to exempt people from an milchemet mitzva?

  • Kasha Varnishkes

    The answer is very simple. Since Har Sinai, Torah and Halacha was transmitted through the gedolim of each generation. The fact is, that every major gadol hador accepted by the greater Torah community in today’s generation has opposed the draft, because they believe it will be detrimental to the overall continuity of Torah. Judaism will only survive with the strongest level of Torah possibly achieved in each generation, not the strength of a secular state’s army nor the world’s view of the state of Israel. If someone is proud to be labeled a frum Torah Jew, they follow the view of the Gedolei Hador, whether or not they understand or agree with their views. For the others, there are many areas of Torah Judaism that don’t make sense to the secular world. It is hardly a stretch to envision years down the road, a political party in Israel that would seek to ban bris milah, shechitah, and other traditions that are integral to Torah judaism. If those ideas were introduced today, the Torah community would enjoy much greater support from many who would clearly understand how that would affect the continuity of Judaism. It is the gray areas that we do not understand – or agree – that we need to rally behind the leaders of the Torah generation, who are trying to be protect the Torah for future generations.

    For those that think all Chareidi Gedolei Hador are a bunch of fakers with white beards that are trying to protect a lie, this entire dialogue is for naught. A. Nuran, who is a hero on these pages, based on his posts has as much interest in judaism continuing as Yair Lapid does. They are cowards for not saying it straight out, but they would rather all religious jews assimilate completely and rid their heart of guilt. However, those that live within the Torah world, who live their lives according to the Torah, who strive to be better jews, should not get caught up with the cynics who are out to trample halachah and torah. To these people I say, stand behind the Gedolim. The test of Torah jew is to follow the Torah even in areas that may not make sense. And when our minds are clouded, we need to yield to the torch bearers of Torah – or else we are choosing sides with the enemy.

    (While many will surely try to discount this post and point to Dati Leumi, my answer is that the Dati Leumi movement has many great rabbanim, and many followers who are are true yirei shamayaim and talmidei chachamim. But the weaker the Chareidi movement gets, the weaker Dati Leumi movement will get. As anyone knowledgeable in the dynamics of the greater yeshiva system will attest, Dati Leumi thrives on the strength of the Chareidi Yeshiva world infrastructure. Weakening the Chareidi torah infrastructure is akin to weakening the strength of the sun, and suffering in turn the weakening of the moon.)

    • Anonymous

      Your last sentence is ridiculous. Weakening the sun. Lol. You can’t make this stuff up.

    • G*3

      > It is the gray areas that we do not understand – or agree – that we need to rally behind the leaders

      Why would you rally behind your leaders when they’re doing things you disagree with? Don’t you see that such a policy – that the leaders are always right, *especially* when you think they’re wrong – is just a way for the leaders to suppress dissent? That such a policy leaves the door wide open for corruption? It is precisely by forcing leaders to explain the “gray areas” and to convince people that they’re right would keeps them from taking advantage of people.

      > they would rather all religious jews assimilate completely and rid their heart of guilt.

      Non-religious and OTD Jews don’t feel “guilty.” I feel as much guilt for, say, not fasting on taneisim as I (and you) do for not fasting on Ramadan. Nor do they dislike Charedim because Chareidim make them feel guilty. They dislike Chareidim because Chareidim are often pretentious and are condescending towards anyone not Chareidi.

    • Titanium

      I think anyone who follows the torch bearers of Torah would rush to the nearest IDF draft office. (Or at least any man- the issue of women serving in the army is not as simple.) Here’s a short partial list of the gedolim that consider service in the army to be obligatory:
      Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein
      Rabbi Nahum Rabinovitch
      Rabbi Eliahou Zinni
      Rabbi Shlomo Aviner
      Rabbi Dov Lior
      Rabbi Haim Druckman
      Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
      Shall I continue?

  • http://www.frumfemale.blogspot.com frum single female

    I think that this rally was a big chilul hashem. Even if charedim do not take money from the government they are still benefitting from there being a Jewish state because they are being protected by Israel. Torah study is important however we are not living in the times of moshiach or biblical times so I would not say that the charedim have a leg to stand on. If it was really biblical times then only the cohanim and leviim would be learning torah and everyone else would be serving in the army. The charedim should not live in Israel until moshiach arrives or they should only live in the parts of Israel that were given to the arabs if they do not want to serve in the army.

    • A. Nuran

      But the fact remains that they do take money from the government, lots and lots of it. Their insatiable desire for welfare coupled with an allergy to productive work means the the elderly, the disabled and those who legitimately cannot find work have nothing. Even military readiness is being sacrificed to give them money. Despite the lies they tell almost all of their yeshivot are supported by the State of Israel they despise. And as you point out, they benefit from the roads, the police, the public housing, the electricity, the healthcare system and a thousand other public services they neither support nor appreciate.

  • ISR

    I wonder – do Yeshiva students “flea” the area because they rarely wash?

  • Reason

    Haredim are Israeli citizens. Israeli citizens must be drafted therefore Haredim should be drafted.

    • A. Nuran

      The fundamental problem is many of them DON’T consider themselves to be Israeli citizens. They consider themselves to be apart and above, Jews who live in the Land under the harsh rule of a demonic Zionist Occupation Government. They are not loyal to their country. They do not have any loyalty to it or even recognize it as a legitimate nation.

      One of the important secondary functions of the IDF is nation-building. It has taken Jews from all over the world – Dutch University graduates, Yemenite shepherds, Indian spice merchants – and turned them into Israelis with a common identity. It has been a vital service. It is also one that the Fiddler on the Roof Fantasy crowd utterly rejects.

      • Seriously?

        Nuran, you are making the case for the Haredim. What you call “nation building” I would call forcing people into environments dominated by the lowest common denominator.

        Here is a premise: TV in Israel is also state-owned, and a tool of assimilation. Would you force people to have and watch TVs for the same “vital” reason?

  • Reason

    “Fiddler on the Roof Fantasy crowd” lol I like that.

  • A. Nuran

    In all honesty the reason why I have so much hate towards jewish people is because I grew up in a really religous house were I was sentenced to doing stuff I didn’t want to. So I rebelled and this is who I am today… Its pretty sad…

    • Seriously?

      For once, I agree.

  • Yochanan

    “Do you think Israel should force the Charedim to serve in the army?”

    Do you think Charedim should force other members of Jews in Israel to die on the front lines so they could sit on their asses in Batei Midrash?

  • Shmuel

    Maybe it’s time for a contest like Eliyahu on the Carmel?

    Chareidim and soldiers will each go to the refugee camp in jenin and each will do their best to defend themselves against the locals who would like to lynch them.

    Soldiers with guns, tear gas, armour, etc.
    chareidim will learn a daf of gemarah.

    Who will stay alive the longest. And like Eliyahu and the priests of Baal the winner gets to massacre the losers

  • David

    The positions taken by most hareidi “gedolim” in our generation are in the halachic spirit, and sometimes actual din, of Beit Shammai. This was not the halacha laid down by the smuchim of the final generations of the Sanhedrin hagadol, who taught “be like hillel, not shammai.” There is even a Shabbat zemirah that includes this statement. Beit Shammai was rejected by our forefathers for a reason. Aside from their six lenient rulings neither their decisions nor hashkafah is the authentic tradition of our fathers. The hareidi gedolim are rebellious elders who stand as Korach in opposition to the teaching and throne of Moshe Rabbeinu as passed to us by Hillel, Rabban Gamliel, Shimon ben Gamliel, Yochanan Ben Zakkai, Gamliel II, Rabbis Akiva and Ishmail, and Yehuda HaNasi. They have spat upon holy tradition twisted it to their our self-aggrandizing ends. That said, I think the induction of hareidim to the IDF needs to be a gradual, gradated process. It may not be fair — they really should go in en masse — but most would make poor soldiers at best and the IDF is going to have to put in double duty to make them so. Its simple pragmatism: start the process with a smaller group you can make the mistakes you learn from, make the necessary adjustments, and then wash, rinse, repeat. This also gives you a welcoming cadre to help bringing the next batch into.

    • A. Nuran

      The IDF has been able to take everyone from illiterate shepherds to German engineers and turn them into competent professional soldiers. They’ve trained yeshiva bochurs for decades.

      They don’t need an “easing in period”. They don’t need special non-military service for the chareidim; to Gehennom with special privileges and lighter duty for those smug, privileged self-styled Lords of Creation. What they need is the political will to treat them like all other recruits. That means if they mouth off to their superiors they get ridden like any other recruit. If they disobey orders they learn what military discipline means. When they do what is required to the best of their ability and work towards a common goal with the men and women in their unit they are rewarded with respect and responsibility.

      • Anonymous

        true true

  • Amrilusaguy
  • Mongo

    I’m not sure why everyone is so surprised and confused here.. The rallies were organised and attended by Orthodox Jews. When was the last time an Orthodox Jew said or did anything that makes logical sense?

    Case in point: I once saw an Orthodox Jew at a supermarket who was helping an elderly woman with her groceries. That didn’t make sense to me.

    I saw another Orthodox Jew who was breathing and smiling. I couldn’t figure that one out either.

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