Rabbi Dov Lipman has published an article in the Jewish Press that blows up the myth about one of their issues, the draft (emphasis mine):
The law says nothing about haredim going to jail. It says the army has specific goals for how many haredim will serve. As long as those goals are met, there is no mandatory draft of anyone who is in yeshiva. The law actually begins by doing the opposite of drafting yeshiva boys; it says that anyone who is over 22 when the law is passed will be completely exempt from any service. This frees them to enter the work force or continue learning.
The law then sets out its goals. Among those 24 and under, the goal is for 3,200 haredim to begin service between now and July 2014. Two thousand would serve in the army and 1,200 in national service. Army service can be done in Nachal Chareidi, an exclusively haredi unit with minyanim and time for learning, or in Shachar Kachol, which teaches its participants trades like computer and electric engineering which they can then use for a livelihood after their service.
The national service includes a variety of options – some are security-oriented (police, etc.) and some involve civil service in medical and other areas of need. Service is for two years. If we analyze the tens of thousands who are currently in yeshiva learning, there are most certainly 3,200 who are not learning day and night, and all the roshei yeshiva have said that anyone not learning day and night should serve in the army.
Between July 2014 and July 2015 another 3,800 would begin service – 2,300 in the army and 1,500 in national service. The final goal is to have 5,200 begin service by 2017 – 3,000 in the army and 2,200 in national service.
Considering the fact that every year around 7,500 haredim reach the age of 18 and that many roshei yeshiva have said that 50 to 60 percent of the boys in yeshiva should not be there long term, these goals are very reasonable and preserve the value of Torah study for those who are truly cut out to do so day and night. According to this plan, 35,500 would continue learning day and night while 17,000 would the country for two years in a framework geared to haredi young men – 10,000 in the army and approximately 7,000 in national service.
I have to ask, ‘Why does the rabbinic leadership say this is Shas HaShmad?’ No one is being forced to violate a single Halacha… or even a Chumra for that matter.
And why do they continue to vilify Rabbi Lipman? In fact they shoudn’t even be vilifying Yesh Atid. Their insistence that Yesh Atid is anti Charedi has yet to be proven. And yet it is an article of faith with them.
What bothers me the most is that none of this matters to Israeli rabbinic leaders and their followers. The Rabbonim have spoken. Rabbi Lipman is a Rasha. Don’t believe a word he says. End of conversation! Whatever happened to rational thought and seeing the facts for what they are instead of seeing them through the colored eyes of other people?
About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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