Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why Lapid is strengthening radical Chareidim or How not to draft the ultra-Orthodox

Times of Israel   by Rachel Azaria  a Jerusalem councilwoman representing the Yerushalmim Party

The government’s Peri Committee is offering a solution to the unequal burden of military service that is far from ideal. Why? Because it won’t result in the ultra-Orthodox joining the army, at least not for the next four years. If so, why are Yair Lapid and Yesh Atid determined to pass the law? Ah… It’s simple: they live in Tel Aviv. In other words, they have never actually met the ultra-Orthodox. 

Over the last decade, Jerusalem residents have witnessed a lengthy, difficult struggle over the character of our city. We have succeeded on a number of fronts: the fight against excluding women from the public sphere, retaining the pluralistic character of neighborhoods, and so much more.

We have succeeded because we became acquainted with the ultra-Orthodox community and we realized one key fact: the ultra-Orthodox community is undergoing significant changes, with two distinct undercurrents pulling in opposite directions. The first trend is an increasing interest in being part of Israeli society. These are people who feel Israeli and value the State of Israel. The other group is increasingly disinterested in joining society at large.

The ultra-Orthodox who wish to integrate into society face two main challenges. One is that they don’t know how to join society, so many don’t. But given the chance, they will gladly find their place. The second challenge is pressure from their more radical peers, who deny their religious devotion, threaten to not accept their children to schools, and other such sanctions. [...]

What we’ve learned in Jerusalem is to encourage the moderate voices in the ultra-Orthodox community, those who wish to join the Israeli and Jerusalemite public sphere and to resist the zealots.
The problem is that the Peri Committee does exactly the opposite. According to its plan, it will continue to exempt the entire ultra-Orthodox community from service. And in four years, anyone who doesn’t join the army – will go to jail.

This precisely empowers the more radical voices, who are waiting for a chance to prove that the secular want only to harass the ultra-Orthodox. Of course they’ll fight the Committee’s plan. It is clear that being jailed will be equated with “martyrdom for the sake of G-d,” playing right into the hands of the more radical groups [...]


  1. asher pihem diber shavMay 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    The writer of this article is correct. It is clear to me, as an "extreme" charedi, that Lapid has no interest in recruiting chareidim, only to win the fight. If he really cared to recruit people to the army, he would have left things the way they were (i believe there was a gradual increase in service) , or he would go after people in his own camp who don't serve.

    Israelis love to win an argument. It's all about, i am the big man, and you are the small man. Hahaha I win, and hahaha you lose. This is what it's about. I would love to make this a philisophical argument, over right and wrong and service, but it's not. It's simple childs play.
    The outcome will actually be counterproductive. Less chareidim will serve. If they try arresting them, and they will realize they don't have enough prisons, or will power for this fight. The backlash will be so strong, that this issue will settle itself for another 20-30 years. Good night Lapid. Good night Lipman. Your 1800 yeshiva students idea should have been more like 180,000. Hahaha you win the battle. Hahaha you lose the war. The only true winners will be the producers of the garbage cans burned during hafganot.

  2. WADR the secular approach has been remarkably restrained and reasonable considering the response its received from the Ultra-Orthodox leadership. To wit:
    Seculars: We want to talk about sharing the burden, getting you to join the army and look for work!
    Ultra-Orthodox: Nazis! Animals! You're like the Czar, Haman and Hitler all in one! You think of nothing but how to destroy the Torah and us with it! We will never surrender. We will... wait! Why do you hate us so much?"

  3. Much merit to this argument. The IDF has a long history of being used to shape society and as long as it is viewed as such, will remain pariah by the chareidim. Whether or not it is still being used to influence its ranks to lessen their religious observance is a matter of debate. According to my sources chilul shabbas in nachal chareidi is rampant.

    1. There's a difference between individuals, who happen to serve in Nachal Haredi, who choose to be chillul Shabbos because they are rebelling against Hashem or discarding Judaism, vs. The Nahal Charedi itself (its officers, rabbis, commanders, etc) committing chilul Shabbos and thus forcing all its soldiers to do so. Blaming the former scenario on the unit itself is not appropriate, and actually it is dishonest.

      There are individuals in haredi society who also choose to violate shabbos. Do you blame that on the gedolim or the yeshivot? Obviously, no one told them to do that.

  4. I think the Zealots could set up a few communities inside the west bank, near several arab cities. here they can both share in anti-zionist rhetoric, and also can fight or learn to fight the Palestinian militants. They might be more successful at it than the IDF.


  5. Recipients and PublicityJune 3, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    Israel National News / Arutz Sheva:

    "Yaalon: No to Criminal Sanctions Against Hareidi Draft Evaders

    Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon expresses his strong opposition to criminal actions against hareidi men who don't serve in the IDF.

    By Elad Benari

    Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon on Sunday once again strongly expressed his opposition to jailing hareidi-religious men who will refuse to serve in the IDF.

    Last week, the Perry Committee for Equal Burden of Service voted to impose criminal sanctions on hareidi-religious men who do not enlist in the army.

    Yaalon, who was a member of the committee, voted against the measure, reportedly ignoring a direct order from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to vote for the measure in order to prevent a coalition crisis.

    Speaking to Likud activists in the Sharon region, the Defense Minister said, "Last year, 1,500 hareidim joined the IDF without us having declared war on then and without going to jail.

    "Whoever thinks that by attacking and threatening them, as [former MK Yohanan] Plesner did at the time and as has almost happened with Yesh Atid – sending them straight to jail - I do not want to live in a Jewish state in which I take yeshiva students from Torah study to jail,” he added.

    Asked by the activists how much Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who last week threatened to bolt from the coalition unless his demands on hareidi army recruitment were met, will control the government, Yaalon replied, “I do not bend over, as you can see.”

    He added, “Those who can think that life or the State can be run on Facebook – should know that it doesn’t work.”

    Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said last week that the Likud party will insist on changes to the proposed “equal burden of service” laws suggested by the Perry Committee.

    “I think that we’ll see changes during the legislative process, from the government and from the Knesset – and the Prime Minister has made that clear,” he said.

    “The Likud will not be a party to incitement against the hareidi-religious public,” Danon declared."

    1. Recipients and PublicityJune 3, 2013 at 6:24 AM

      Correction, the correct URL for the above article is:

      "Yaalon: No to Criminal Sanctions Against Hareidi Draft Evaders

      Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon expresses his strong opposition to criminal actions against hareidi men who don't serve in the IDF.

    2. Interesting, for secular draft dodgers, there is a criminal prosecution. One secularist spent many months in prison for refusing to serve. So is this a shmad on behalf of the government?


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.