Haredi Knesset Member Menachem Eliezer came up with an interesting twist on the military draft issue Monday, warning MKs in favor of conscripting Haredim that doing so will influence non-observant soldiers to become orthodox.
The United Torah Judaism MK spoke after Yair Lapid, chairman of the Future (Yesh Atid) party and the new darling of the secular center-left, said that the issue of a universal military draft already “has brought up threats of a civil war” by Haredim. He added, “Ten percent of the country cannot threaten a civil war on the other 90 percent.”
United Torah Judaism MK Menachem Eliezer Moses replied, “If you want to enlist them (Haredim) to non-Haredi units, I tell you – these yeshiva students will draw your children into Jewish orthodox practices; you will not recognize them when they return from service.”
The funny thing is that there is some truth to that. Believe it or not, thousands of soldiers from secular homes and kibbutzim never have heard even Friday night Kiddush, let alone prayers or a Torah reading.
More than a few soldiers have turned closer to Judaism as a result of their acquaintances with religious soldiers.
Despite all of the hot air about drafting Haredim into the army, it is no secret that the military would have a difficult time accommodating thousands of Haredi enlistees. The IDF has special programs that accommodate the needs of many social sectors that other regular armies would reject. Special units make accommodations for Ethiopian immigrants, soldiers who are needed at home to help family, and youth who have criminal records.
Similarly, the IDF must meet the needs of the Haredi community – such as glatt kosher food and lack of contact with women.
If MK Eliezer is correct and even a sudden and large influx of Haredi soldiers in the army were to attract even a small sector of secular soldiers to come closer to Judaism, the Haredi community will be able thank Lapid for his initiative.
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