According to Kipa, Members of the Haredi Knesset factions Sunday night met at the home of Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Steinman, a dean at the Ponovezh yeshiva and a leader of the Haredi Degel HaTorah party, to discuss the Haredi response to the High Court’s recent decision to annul the Tal Law. The decision could potentially force thousands of yeshiva students into military service.
“We have no existence without the Torah, over this issue we will give up our lives,” Degel HaTorah MK Moshe Gafni said at the conference .
Rabbi Steinman noted that “this is a big problem. Time and again they’re trying to harass the learners of Torah. Torah study is the most important thing for the people of Israel. We have no right to exist as a people without Torah. In all our history, the Jewish people survived because of the Torah, and over that we must give up our lives.”
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman MK, taking time from his busy schedule handling a crippling hospital nurse’s strike, attacked the High Court’s decision in an interview with the Military Radio Sunday. He said that it was a “hit-and-run” by the outgoing president of the Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch. Litzman added,”The topic was on her desk four years and she waited until the last minute” to bring it on.
Donniel Hartman, who says his father “broke with his ultra-Orthodox brothers when I was drafted into the Israeli army,” wrote this morning in Ynet that “the forced conscription of the ultra-Orthodox community (and for that matter, the Israeli Arab one) is a mistake, and does not sufficiently take into account the current peculiar nature of Israel’s multinational Jewish identity.”
But Seth Freedman presents the more common Israeli view in the Guardian: “The massive Haredi birth rate sustains the Jewish element of the population. It also means that the proportion of Israel’s population who are ultra-orthodox has rocketed to more than 10%, with the vast majority of Haredi males going into yeshiva learning rather than completing their national service. Full-time Torah study used to be the preserve of only the most talented and able-minded scholars, while the rest worked for a living and contributed to the upkeep of the students.”