Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Ethiopian Orthodox Girl Sentenced to Languish in IDF Prison Over Rosh HaShana for Her Faith - for Refusing to Enlist


25 Ellul 5779 / Sept. 25 '19

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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As reported, an indisputably religious 19 y/o girl, Ziva bas Mazal M., was sentenced last Thursday to an outrageous THIRTY ONE DAYS IN MILITARY PRISON - for her steadfast refusal to violate Torah Law - and her personal modesty - by enlisting in the IDF.  Ziva M. hails from an Orthodox religious Ethiopian family.  

Apparently, another Ethiopian girl, S. bas Adna,  is similarly imprisoned for her steadfast refusal to enlist in the notoriously promiscuous IDF. However, few details are known heretofore, apparently because certain elements are impeding the requisite flow of information needed to assist her. She is reportedly scheduled for an interview with Avner Lotati, deputy commander of "Maitav" (the IDF draft division) tommorow. Given the track record Mr. Lotati has in denying girls IDF exemptions, this girl is in grave danger. This is what occurs when the appropriate Rabbinical authorities and associated activists are not allowed access to basic information about imprisoned girls.


Again, even according to Israeli law, religious girls are to be exempted from military service. With regards to the girl that we do know about, Ziva, there is no question about her religiosity. Additionally, her brothers learn in Hesder Yeshivos, and her parents are similarly religious.

Again, IDF enlistment is forbidden by all Torah authorities, across the spectrum. Thus, Ziva is being persecuted for her dedication to follow the Torah.  

Zivah was arrested because she was - allegedly - late in submitting her religious certification. In dealing with her predicament, she encountered complications with draft authorities earlier this year. It needs to be widely understood that since that enlisting in the military is something a girl is obligated to sacrifice her very life to avoid, the requirement on her to enlist in the military merely for being late in submitting documentation of religiosity is not only draconian, but, in effect, constitutes an anti-religious policy.

Unfortunately, she was not put in contact with the proper advocates, probably because of the natural cultural disconnect between many Orthodox Jews of Ethiopian extraction and the other sectors of the Orthodox community. Consequently, she had to resort to a court appointed attorney, and was hit with this harsh prison sentence. Although, belatedly, demonstrations were held for her, her information didn't get out in time.

The Orthodox community has an obligation to stand up for the disadvantaged, including Ethiopian girls totally unfamiliar with how to deal with secularist Draft Office procedures - and their attempts to advance the antireligious agenda articulated in Feb. 2019 by Col. Keren Levy (now heading the Jerusalem Draft Office) : 

"I will profane (or, more accurately, "violate") The Vineyard, and I will start with your daughter," as reported by Professor Ruth Ester Leemor Hauseband, in regards to her daughter Avigail Leah. (See The Jewish Press, in the Dispatch column of three weeks ago, regarding her daughter's plight.)

Another aspect of this case is the biased reaction of Avner Lotati, deputy commander of Maitav, whom Ziva was advised (improperly) to meet for an interview to determine if he would be able to deny her the religious exemption to which she would normally be entitled. The report of that meeting mentions that her brothers served in fighting units of the IDF, and reportedly that was a reason for denial of her religious exemption. If service of a sibling is so contrary to being religious that it disqualified Ziva, the entire campaign to draft religious boys into the IDF is now called into question... by the IDF itself. Just what is going on here?  The IDF is robbing a religious girl of her rights because she's an easy target. Is it easier to persecute Ethiopian girls due to their natural cultural isolation?  Is this the proverbial antireligious/secularist "Israeli WASP" racism against Jews of color, historically Sefardic Jews, Yemenites, and now Ethiopians? Is it now open season on Ethiopian Jewish girls?

Multiple demonstrations have been held, but much more needs to be done to free her before Rosh Hashanah. Her incarceration on the Day of Judgement would be an unimaginable Heavenly Accusation against those who failed to move Heaven and Earth to ensure no girl suffers IDF military persecution for her faithfulness to Torah.

Please stay tuned for updates. 

1 comment :

  1. It is the ashkenazi /hareidi purists that opposed the Jewishness of the Ethiopian Jews, whereas the rabbanut, sephardim and chilonim recognize them as Jews. It's the same hateidim who do not allow Sephardi girls with dark skin into their beis Yaakov schools.


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