web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Moshe Feiglin: Transition IDF to a Professional Volunteer Army


Moshe Feiglin

Moshe Feiglin
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90

I was invited for an hour of relaxed, weekend conversation on the Nechama Duek Show on Radio Tel Aviv. At the beginning of the broadcast, Duek interviewed the “suckers” in the protest tent. These are the reserve soldiers, the self-proclaimed “pushovers,” unhappy with their reserve duty while many ultra-Orthodox men do not serve in the army. The anonymous sucker repeats the hackneyed mantras against the haredim, draft evasion, et al. It reminds me of a tasteless piece of gum that has been chewed here in Israel for 60 years; every so often somebody decides to blow a bubble and pop it. “Here we go again,” I say to myself. “The next hate-fest is upon us.”

I wonder who planned and funded this performance. Probably the same people who produced the haredi bus scandal, and before that the mosque burning scandal. After all, how would we possibly survive here without our monthly hate-fest?

The sucker keeps talking and Duek emotionally calls for all Tel Avivians to join with the suckers – now. She then turns to me and asks, “What is your opinion?” I take advantage of the opportunity to praise the settlers in Judea and Samaria, reminding the listeners that, among other facts, the settlers boast the highest percentage of enlistment. “Yes, but what about the haredim?” Duek asks. I then explain the solution. “A terrible idea!” Duek counters, and goes on to the next topic.

I will preface my proposed solution by saying that I always tell my children that when they turn on the radio to hear the news, they must first understand that they are actually hearing what the person who wrote the news thinks is the news and that what he decides will be on the national agenda.

Two days later, at 7 a.m., I turned on Channel 2 radio to Aryeh Golan. What is on the news? Yes, it’s the “pushovers.” The picture is clear: big money (probably from Europe), cynical strategists, tents, news editors, the High Court – and some pushovers for good measure.

The army does not currently conscript haredim, even though it is obligated to do so. It cannot and does not want to. The haredim refuse to be conscripted against their will – no matter what. Mix them together and we get a smooth blend of hatred. Wonderful; we have something to look forward to.

What is the solution for the conscription of haredim? As always the solution is to deal with the real problem, not the problem conjured up by the news editors. The real problem is the “People’s Army” ethos. Mandatory conscription was instituted to serve that ethos and, indirectly, to empower minority sectors to, among other things, create discord – to divide and conquer.

Mandatory conscription has nothing to do with security. On the contrary, it is detrimental to security. But in a state founded on the security ethos, the power to forcibly conscript or excuse from conscription is the power to determine who is the insider and who is the outsider. The state will never give up this absolute power. Nechama Duek’s decisive “no” did not stem from her concern for Israel’s security; rather, it stemmed from her fear of losing this power.

The IDF has not been the People’s Army for a very long time. Less than a third of able-bodied men serve the full three years of mandatory service. Even more amazing, less than four percent of able-bodied men serve significantly in the reserves.

A graded and judicious transition to a professional volunteer army, based on ample compensation and a valued social status, would allow the army to choose the best and brightest and to fine-tune their skills. This would include academic training. The IDF would be able to extensively prepare for the battlefield of the future.

I know that religious Zionists do not like this idea. They think that their army service will pave their way into the heart of Israeli legitimacy. But that is not the case. Army service is a very important value. But those holding the reins will never let go in exchange for religious Zionist cannon-fodder.

Mandatory conscription contradicts the concept of liberty that is at the base of Judaism. Yes, provisions must be made for basic training for all draft-aged men in preparation for an emergency. This includes haredim – under the strictest guidelines of Jewish law, and as per their needs. But it is specifically the religious Zionists that must think out of the box and lead with the ethos of liberty.

Ultimately, Gush Katif was destroyed by a severe shortage of liberty – not of religious soldiers.

About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.


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.

One Response to “Moshe Feiglin: Transition IDF to a Professional Volunteer Army”

  1. smflatow says:

    Feiglin always challenges us to think, but doesn’t he undermine his own arguments in his conclusion? I think so.
    Doesn’t Judaism require service from all for mandatory wars with exemptions in certain cases? So how does “mandatory conscription” run counter to the liberty that is the basis of Judaism?
    And I do not understand how you can compel basic training of all draft aged men in preparationi for a national emergency.
    I do think that an all volunteer army, with a real pay scale, is an excellent idea.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Which glass has the poison?
State Dept. Complains New Homes in Jerusalem ‘Poison’ US Peace Plan
Latest Indepth Stories

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that may pose a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world. Learn about their rise to power and the toll they’ve taken thus far.

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

A., a teacher: “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll.”

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

More Articles from Moshe Feiglin
MK Moshe-Feiglin

A murderous uprising is taking place in Israel; On the roads, In the mixed Jewish-Arab cities.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

Israel is our land, not theirs – Gaza included. No talk of the 2state solution; 1 state for 1 people

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

All the tactical problems have solutions. The real problem is not with the enemy; it is with us.

Why couldn’t the artillery barrage have been implemented before the soldiers went into that hell?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/army-ethos-and-the-media-carnival/2012/02/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: