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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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Haredi Torah Says Battle against Draft ‘A War of Life and Death’

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The Lithuanian Council of Torah Sages and the Hasidic Council of Torah Sages organized two protests in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem Monday against a Knesset committee in the process of adding details to the new draft law requiring almost all Israeli Jewish youth to report for military duty.

“They are trying to bring us closer to temptations; they want to take our sons out of the yeshiva. We must fortify the wall to make it stronger, so that they will not be able to achieve this,” said Rabbi Yigal Ratzon, quoted by the Israel HaYom Hebrew-language newspaper.

Rabbi Baruch Dov Povarsky, head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, said, “We are fighting for our lives; they don’t understand. They want to kill us, all of us. The Torah is our life, and [yeshiva] students must take to heart and know that this is a war of life and death.”

One person at the Bnei Brak protest said, “The rabbis made it extremely clear that they oppose any kind of sanctions [for not enlisting], criminal or economic. There is no change in the [rabbis’] instructions as of yet, and a yeshiva student who receives a draft notice must go [to the recruitment office]. We are not starting a war, but if they force this upon us, we will react as someone does when there is a threat to his life.”

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