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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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To Rally or Not, That is the Question

The heated debate in the settlements this Shabbat revolved around participating in the Haredi anti-draft rally planned for Sunday, or not.


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Lipa Schmeltzer dressed up as an IDF soldier for a music video.

Lipa Schmeltzer dressed up as an IDF soldier for a music video.
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Because the Haredim are still beating that dead horse and fighting battles that ended long ago between the Tziyoinim and the Dosim, they’ve backed themselves into a corner, and have made their natural allies – the Dati-Leumi community, wary, unsympathetic and even angry at them.

The Haredim have taken their isolationist ideology too far and are incapable of participating in the wider community in a healthy manner, which certainly makes it completely impossible to trust them in the political realm – unless you’re the one signing the check.

It’s about lip service.

If the Haredi community wants to see the Dati-Leumi community standing beside them, then they need to make changes in their lip service – their prayers and statements.

It’s not enough to say your learning protects Israel, when you refuse to say a prayer for the Jewish country you live in, or for the Jewish soldiers who die for you. Or when a Haredi soldier comes home, how he’s forced to hide his uniform so that his neighbors don’t bad mouth him or his family.

That change in lip service would show the Dati-Leumi community that the Haredi community has matured and is prepared to view its fellow Jewish communities as their brothers in Israel.

The Haredim need to openly say they will support Hesder and the Settlements (where Haredi communities live too, by the way), no matter what political pressure or incentives are placed in front of them – it can’t be that the only Torah communities and the only Yeshivas that Hareidim care about are their own.

On the other side, the Settlers and Dati-Leumi community needs to realize that Lapid and friends are the enemies of Torah life in Israel and of settlements. The Haredim are easy targets right now, but their recent slip of targeting Hesder proves it won’t quietly end with just Haredim.

The fact that Haredi draft goals are being met, and don’t require spurious criminal sanctions added onto the bill, indicate that this is a populist and dangerous attack, unconnected to the draft.

It doesn’t matter that, right now, we can’t count on the Haredim in the political realm. We need to trust that if we do the right thing here, the Haredim will mature and begin start acting as responsible and reliable allies, just as they’ve been quietly sending more and more young men to the army.

If they don’t act properly, the onus is on them – but letting Lapid win and take back all the progress that was made in expanding Haredi draft numbers – just so he’ll win more seats in the next election – that onus will be on us.

Both sides, Haredi and Dati-Leumi, have some serious thinking to do about who are real allies are and should be, and how we interact with one another.

I hope the right conclusions are reached before it is too late.

JoeSettler

About the Author: JoeSettler blogs at The Muqata.blogspot.com and occasionally on his own blog at JoeSettler.blogspot.com.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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