web analytics
December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



The War on Hesder

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during a visit to the Modiin Hesder yeshiva in 2010. Ashkenazi said, "Yeshiva students come to the IDF armed with faith and a strong desire to contribute."

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during a visit to the Modiin Hesder yeshiva in 2010. Ashkenazi said, "Yeshiva students come to the IDF armed with faith and a strong desire to contribute."
Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger / FLASH90

It’s become clear to me that getting Haredim into the army and the workforce to “share the burden” is not and has not been about that at all, but rather, as the Haredim have been claiming all along, it’s about a war on Torah, Judaism, and observant Jews in general.

As I’ve said in the past, I think its important for Haredim to be part of the workforce, if for no other reason then to break them out of the poverty cycle. On a secondary level, I think having Haredim in the army would be good for the army, in the same way that Religious-Zionist Jews have been good for the army, for the values they bring with them that positively affect and change the organizations and environments they participate in.

And as Nachal Haredi has proven, Haredim do make very good soldiers.

So what convinced me?

The first hint is that if this really was about all citizens sharing the burden then why isn’t anyone trying to pass draconian laws forcing Israeli Arabs citizens to “share the burden” too?

But there’s a much bigger give-away.

Recently there have been virulent attacks on the Hesder system.

The Hesder system is a 5 year track which is divided between 16 months of army service and three and a half years of Torah study. Typically speaking, some Religious-Zionist students take this track as it allows them to develop their Torah studies and also serve their country. During their service, most serve in homogeneous units with other Hesder students.

After five years, the student-soldier is released from the army and allowed to go on to college and work.

Approximately 10% of Religious-Zionist students (around 750 boys) choose the Hesder track instead of the full three year army program each year. The program is actually open to any Israeli who wants to seriously learn Torah and serve. I believe it was based on the original Nachal program that combined a year and half of army service, with a year and a half of service creating new Kibbutzim.

The argument being bantered around is that it is not fair that Hesder soldier-students are not “sharing the burden” unlike other Israelis who do three full years of service, which, I guess, doing simple math would sound unfair.

But, life is hardly ever simple math, so lets look at some supporting numbers that tell a completely different story.

85% of Hesder students serve in combat units. A percent that is far above and beyond that of the general population. So when it comes to the burden they are undertaking, Hesder students are undertaking the dangerous part of that burden, unlike say, a news reader in the Army Radio unit, or an army cook who serves one week on and one week off.

And it’s no secret that Hesder students are rated as top quality combat soldiers. As Rav Eliezer Melamed has pointed out, in performance contests between units, its usually the Hesder soldiers that come in first.

10% of Hesder students go on to become commanders and officers in combat units. Officers, by the way, are required to serve 4 years.

And unlike the general population, where only around 10% of the general population shares in the reserve duty burden, the vast majority of Hesder student do decades of reserve duty in combat units, meaning those in Hesder are taking on far more than their share of the reserve duty burden.

As an aside, most Hesder students don’t make Yerida (emigrate) from Israel either.

The obvious conclusions is that if you want to produce top-notch combat soldiers, combat officers, and productive citizens, we should actually be expanding the Hesder system.

I now suspect it is exactly the statistics above that have expanded this war on religious Jews to include the Hesder program.

It must scare the leftists to no end that more than half of the mid-level combat officers are religious, many from the Hesder system.

It must scare the leftists that a significant percent of combat soldiers are religious soldiers, dedicated to a Torah based value system which they can’t seem to eradicate or weaken.

It must scare the leftists that, unlike they’re forbears in the Kibbutz movement who actually served in combat units and ruled the army, these new leftists have not only abandoned the IDF but also attack and try to weaken the IDF, while these religious Jews that are serving today in the IDF are the ones who will be inheriting the IDF mantle and keeping it strong.

The whole situation has probably created a lot of consternation for the modern Leftist.

On one hand, they’re trying to tear the Haredim away from the Yeshiva, and hoping the army will do its part to rip away Torah from the Haredim, while on the other hand, they are scared senseless by the utter success of Hesder Torah students who have taken on such important roles within the army, and are helping reshape it – and not only remain religiously strong but ensure the army respects religious requirements (which, trust me, it didn’t always do).

So when you realize that despite an initial shorter active service (not counting the additional 3.5 years within the army system as non-active soldiers), Hesder student-soldiers are ultimately bearing more than their share of the burden, these attacks on Hesder begin to make a lot of sense – when you put them into context of the larger battle.

The Left want a weakened IDF, so they must weaken this strong core group of dedicated, religious soldiers and officers.

And as the Left sees the army as a weapon to secularize Haredim, Hesder is clearly a threat to that plan.

If the Left want their plan to destroy Haredi society via the IDF to succeed, they need to dismantle Hesder and the small but strong, healthy core of loyal, dedicated, religious soldiers, officers and citizens it creates every year.

After all, there’s nothing more dangerous in the mind of a Leftist than a religious Jew who believes in what he is doing for his nation.

H/T Rav Eliezer Melamed who provided many of the stats used in this post.

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


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “The War on Hesder”

  1. Nit picking. If you have laws on serving and you serve under these laws you are doing your duty as prescribed by law. Whats the problem?

  2. Yeshiva Hesder students currently serve 16 months and not 18 months. The haredi issue is another matter. The
    Nasal haredi units consist mostly of haredi boys who are no longer in yeshiva and has Not been supported by the haredi mainstream. Almost all haredi boys remain in yeshiva util they have families. This is not sustainable on a macro level nor on a micro level. The average Israeli taxpayer is no longer willing to fund this.

  3. I think your analysis of the new left's fear of, and desire to weaken, the IDF and the Hesder movement. This attempt must be thwarted. The success of the Hesder movement makes the enlistment of Haredim more possible.

  4. Ronny Mol says:

    Laid has caused a perfect storm. The more religious soldiers, the high probality of a non vioent coup. End the anti Jew supreme court, Since leftist don't go in the army, perfect time to outlaw leftist parties with their Arab parties. What Lapid started could be a blessing in disguise.

  5. Nor leftist or rightist has the right to debate about youngsters obligation to participate in the IDF force, politicians should not put their nose to the IDF, if Huddin Desner is making a good job, let him do, Israel needs every day a very strong armed forces.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

muqata logo 486x300
Current Top Story
A message from an ambassador of the Palestinian Authority, Israel's "peace partner."
Palestinian Authority Envoy to Tehran Says Israel will be Destroyed
Latest Blogs Stories
Diogenes searching for an "Honest Man"

Corruption accusations are commonplace in Israeli politics, defining it’s political landscape.

Game of Groans

The Likud falls in the Center where Bibi wants it. But how many voters want a parve/neutral party?

Doug Goldstein

Marketing isn’t only about selling a product, the “power of eventually” will help you to succeed.

My stairs had been built, big and strong-BUT ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE APARTMENT!

Is his article satire? Or does Kai Bird really think Tzipi Livni heads a “center-right” party?

Much as I’d like to see the Jewish nation fully observant forcing Shabbat on people is NOT the way.

Loyalty seems to be a lost trait in Israeli politics, whether it’s to ideals, principles or parties.

Apartment hunting is kinda like dating: You go see anything that looks right on paper-and pray.

Latest headlines say that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud may only make third place if…

What are the roles of leadership and communication in running a “tight ship”?

Sabraman: Israel’s first superhero, combining the courage of the Sabra and the faith of Abraham.

Is Haredi open-ended learning on charity better than earning a living that would obviate that?

Hanuka is the miracle of emunah- belief in the L-rd of Israel and the light of our faith.

Limiting Jewish success and revival is that the anti-Jewish, anti-History Left rules here in Israel

The crisis in Jewish education is of existential importance. How should it be resolved?

More Articles from JoeSettler
HaTnua Party Meeting

Is his article satire? Or does Kai Bird really think Tzipi Livni heads a “center-right” party?

PM Benjamin Netanyahu with Yishai and Tamar Fogel, survivors of an Arab terror attack which killed their parents and 3 siblings.

A number of Israeli papers regurgitated a biased AP article on settlement growth, but they should have read it more carefully before hitting publish.

The party chiefs are acting drunk and childish – making stupid mistakes and inadvertently showing their true selves – just like on Purim.

JoeSettler explains the electoral mess we’re in, and a possible solution for fixing it.

If Bennett and Ariel split the party, Bayit Yehudi votes will go to the only party fielding a strong, stable religious bloc… the Likud.

Everything you thought you knew about the “Jewish Nation State” law is wrong. Here are 5 common misconceptions about the proposed law.

The silly people on the left have created a new campaign to try and force the rest of the country to capitulate to their suicidal fantasies, this time by riding trains and imposing themselves onto other people’s conferences.

President Rivlin’s recent statements are only half right, and that’s why he’s completely wrong.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/why-is-there-a-war-on-hesder/2014/02/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: