Thursday, November 21, 2019

Petur Nafshi At Risk?


By Binyomin Feinberg, Contributor to The Jewish Press*

* The perspectives and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of The Jewish Press.


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We received late word of the incarceration of yet another innocent Orthodox girl, Adel bas Ilana Naavah, a 19 y/o languishing in Military Prison number 6. We hope to provide more details as confirmation becomes available.


Parshas Chayei-Soroh, 5780 °° Nov. 21, '19 (ver.2)

Major News Relevant to IDF Female Draft: Psychological Military Exemptions Under Fire

Just about a week after Maariv reported on the IDF goal of targeting 40% of national religious high school girls for military service (see ) -- Maariv reported (Fri., Nov.11) on another major development that could have a massive impact on religious girls of all sectors seeking IDF service exemptions. In the wake of the recent difficulties in obtaining Religious Exemptions (Petur Dat), many girls have been advised by some organizations (like Bnos Melech) to seek the primary alternative legal avenue - heretofore more acceptable to the IDF - a "Petur Nafshi," an exemption for psychological reasons. The IDF has been particularly accommodating of this type of exemption. That government policy has encouraged many, many religious girls, via many of the activists helping them, to avail themselves of this legal provision, especially where the alternative is a frequently uncomfortable dispute with the government over a Religious Exemption.

However, as repeatedly warned about by a leading Giyus Banos opponent, Rabbi Laizer Yehuda Weiss, the government accommodation of a Petur Nafshi (PN) may be short lived, and, worse, serve as a trojan-horse method of calling into question the exemptions already granted to hundreds of religious girls, girls who were unwilling or unable to fight for their Religious Exemptions, or, in many cases advised not to bother.

The IDF claims that in 2018CE, applications for PN rose 30% from 2017, from about 3,500 to 4,500. According to the Army numbers, over 53% of those 4,500 [total] PN 2018 exemptions were for religious youth.

Moreover, over a TWO year period, in the secular community, PN exemptions rose about 30%, while among religious boys they rose about 50% (from 262 to 391 religious boys) in just one year. Interestingly, the statistics for religious girls weren't provided in that report. (If indeed the IDF plans on targeting past exemptions of girls en masse, R"L, it is feared that they may now opt to draw public attention to the boys, and away from girls.)

The article indicated that the IDF plans on vigorously investigating this PN phenomenon, a trend which until now they've actively encouraged, while sometimes illegally denying Religious Exemptions to girls seeking that conventional path. The government now may likey crack down on the PN exemptions, not only going forward, but even retroactively. Such a policy shift could potentially endanger the status of many, many hundreds of girls who were advised or compelled by circumstances to seek a PN exemption. This could spell disastrous for untold numbers of families. (We're informed that roughly about 45 years ago the IDF had disqualified a large number of IDF exemptions retroactively, and required their recipients to redo the exemption process. If that would recur nowadays, given recent human and religious rights abuses perpetrated under the "rightwing" government of Netanyahu in their forced enlistment of girls, the scenario could become one of bedlam.)

At this point, it's imperative for any draft-age girl in Israel, including dual citizens from Chutz La'Aretz visiting Eretz Yisroel, to ensure that she obtain sound advice in securing her IDF exemption, if at all possible by securing her legal rights to a religious - rather than psychological - exemption. (She should also ensure she obtain her permanent exemption, not just a temporary deferment).

The "Chomosaich" volunteer network has been providing advice on such an approach, recently attaining a 95% success rate of obtaining Religious Exemptions. Call them 24/6 (in Israel: ) 03-545-6770 for free expert assistance anytime day or night. Chomosaich provides information for girls regardless of their religious affiliation or background.

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