web analytics
August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The Draft Tragicomedy

If it weren’t so sad, the draft brouhaha in Israel would be the greatest show in town. It is a masquerade ball, a tragicomedy whereby each actor says the complete opposite of what he really wants.

The main actor, the IDF, is practically invisible. He doesn’t dare speak the truth, which is uncomfortable to many. The IDF really does not want the haredim in its ranks. As it is, the army has too much manpower. The last thing it needs is to deal with tens of thousands of new recruits with special dietary (and other) requirements – for which the army is unprepared. Both the Ben Basat Committee and the Shefer Committee have already studied the issue and recommended reducing conscription. But telling the truth to the feminists demanding to draft women into combat units and to the “pushovers” demanding a full-scale draft for the haredim would force the IDF top brass to exercise a rare character trait: acting courageously on public issues.

The second actor in our tragicomedy is the bearer of the torch of hatred for the haredim. This actor and his like-minded supporters were never great fans of army service. The last thing Yair Lapid wants is for the religious Zionist dominance in combat units to be matched by haredi dominance in the computer units of the Air Force and Navy. The outburst of patriotism that suddenly exploded onto the scene reflects political expedience and has nothing to do with ethics, or social or national values.

The third and fourth actors, the Kadima and Likud parties, are dragged into the show for similar reasons. The supporting cast: the media and the New Israel Fund and its plethora of organizations have kindled the cyclical bonfire of haredi hatred in the Israeli forest. Now they are all dancing around the flames. Who has time to deal with minor issues like Syria or Iran?

The only actors who truly want the haredim to enlist are the majority of haredi young men. They, like most people, are not capable of learning throughout the day and night. They would prefer to enter the workforce, but their establishment and Israel’s establishment do not allow them to do so. So in our theater of the absurd, the haredim wear the mask of those who do not want to enlist.

At the commencement ceremony recently held for the accounting graduates at the Kiryat Ono College, department head Yaron Zelicha addressed the many haredim who had successfully completed their degrees. He told them that they had not only scored better than the accounting graduates in other colleges, but that their grades were even higher than those of their secular counterparts.

The real challenge facing Israel is not integrating the haredim into the army, but rather integrating them into the workforce. Europe is not collapsing because of a lack of soldiers, but because in the face of increasing longevity, the productive sector of their society is shrinking.

Most of the nurseries and kindergartens being opened in Israel are for haredim. It is not the draft quotient in two decades that ought to concern us, but the integration into the workforce that should. If Israel continues to make it difficult for haredim who did not serve in the army to work, it is actually cutting off the branch on which it sits. Scientific investigation shows that a haredi child living in poverty today is the best investment for those aiming their arrows at him. That child will be feeding them when they are older.

The government can encourage the haredim to enter the workforce by taking the following steps:

1. Cut the connection between army service and integration into the workforce. When we prohibit Israeli citizens from working, what we are really doing is preventing them from paying taxes. The sanctions preventing the haredim from working are much more punishing to the state than to the citizen.

2. Copy and expand to other campuses the successful example of Yaron Zelicha at the Kiryat Ono College. The induction of haredim into academic learning and prodding them toward professions that Israel needs – particularly professions in which the haredim’s Talmudic backgrounds give them an advantage – is not only possible but also a sure way to success.

3. Create more academic courses for haredim, and support preferred funding for those institutions that integrate them. This will also encourage the various colleges to compete for the haredi student.

4. Provide tax breaks for employers who integrate haredim into their workforce.

5. Begin a public relations campaign encouraging employers to hire haredim, much as is being done now to encourage employers to hire Arabs.

If we ignore all the political hype, the solution is clear and simple.

About the Author:


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.

2 Responses to “The Draft Tragicomedy”

  1. Lana Merle says:

    I like the idea of making it easier for Haredim to earn a living and contribute to Israel's financial stabilization, however, I also think that the Haredim should serve in some capacity in the IDF. It's not right for them not to participate in Israel's defense as other citizens have to do. As for the argument that time studying Torah fulfills this obligation, perhaps it does for some of the top Yeshiva students, but most people are not top scholars, and they can daven and study while also serving in the army.

  2. I agree completely with Lana Merle.

    If most of them want to serve as you Mr. Feiglin says, what is stopping them?

    There is no need for special treatment which would be like affirmitive action for Black Hatters.

    There is a need to improve the negative image not serving creates.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Anti-Semitic Briitsh MP George Galloway poses with a lump on his head after being assaulted.
British Man Beats Up Anti-Semite George ‘Hitler’ Galloway
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

TorahScroll AoT17

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

Troodler-082914

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

Eisenstock-082914

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

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

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

More Articles from Moshe Feiglin
MK Moshe-Feiglin

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

MK Moshe-Feiglin

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?

The Gazan octopus arm is a test case, as the rest of the arms are closely watching it.

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

“The will to triumph is a prerequisite for victory.” Abba Kovner

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/the-draft-tragicomedy/2012/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: