web analytics
May 30, 2015 / 12 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Liberman Buys Time for Coalition, Hareidim Not Buying Idea of Service in Jewish Army


Nahal Hareidi Abir Sultan Flash90

Their prayers may have been answered.

The Kadima party agreed to join the prime minister’s coalition in May on the condition that a new universal conscription law would draft Hareidim and obligate Israeli Arabs to participate in national service programs.

But Prime Minister Netanyahu has been forced to walk a tightrope between the demands of the Kadima party and those of Shas and United Torah Judaism, who say they will not accept any personal or institutional sanctions, or any ceilings on the number of yeshiva students who will receive exemptions from service.

“I think Kadima’s exist is a blessing for the chareidim, because it returns power to them.  The chareidim never leave a government, but they always use the threat of doing so,” said Knesset insider Jeremy Man Saltan.

A version of the law created by Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon would allow Hareidi men to opt for either army or national service between the ages of 18 and 22, and would have sanctioned anyone who did not enter into either service by age 26. It would also draft a number of Israeli Arabs into national service.

Yaalon’s bill will be submitted on Sunday, according to a report by Israel’s Walla! News.  The bill will be tabled despite the recommendation of the Plesner committee to draft all Israelis.  Prime Minister Netanyahu dismantled the committee just prior to the release of its official recommendations, leading to the crisis with Kadima.

Yisrael Beytenu has rejected the bill as too soft.  In the bill it will table on Wednesday, all eligible draftees who do not report for duty will be penalized , while those who cooperate will receive grants for higher education. In addition, draft exemptions would be awarded to 1,000 of the country’s most exceptional Torah scholars annually — the same as the number of top-level athletes and artists who enjoy exemptions today.

The “Suckers” movement of army reservists, who argue that it is unfair that they have been made the “suckers” who do years of army service while Hareidim pursue their own interests in Torah study, say they will pressure Yisrael Beytenu to leave the coalition of its bill does not pass on Wednesday.

For his part, Mofaz called the option of changing the draft age for Hareidi men to 26 a “red line which I could not cross,” saying that is what stood between him and a plan to make “historic compromises” with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  He called the measure contrary to social justice and said Prime Minister Netanyahu “sided with the draft-dodgers over those who carry the national burden.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a letter to Mofaz, explaining that he was committed to instituting new draft measures for Hareidi society, but had wanted to do it “gradually and without tearing the Israeli society apart, especially during a period of time in which Israel finds itself in in front of many significant challenges.”

“I believe many Hareidim would be willing to the army, so to speak, on their terms.  The army today has created a situation of a very, very secular army for almost no reason,” said Eisenman.  He cited the example of forcing soldiers in a non-combat and non-training situation to sit and listen to female singing.  “For many religious people, that is a red line,” Eisenman said.

Yet some plans to integrate Hareidim into the army have already met with success.  The Netzach Yehuda – or Nachal Hareidi – battalion, has shown itself to be a serious unit operating in defense of Israel, having caught and killed several terrorists.  Formulated to meet the needs of the Hareidi soldier while providing real service to the army, the unit obligates soldiers to wear a kippah and keep the laws of Shabbat.   No women are on base or used as instructors, and time is made daily for soldiers to pray and attend Torah classes.  “They have defended their nation, while strengthening themselves with Torah values and ethics,” touts the Nachal Hareidi website.  “Carriers of the flag of Torah and Israel, they have carved out a name for themselves and created a new sense of unity among the nation.”

Yet this progress – and that offered up in the conciliatory plan which would have been presented to Hareidi leadership by the prime minister – were not enough for a segment of society already indignant about the burden of army service they feel they shoulder alone.  Mofaz replied in his own letter to the Prime Minister that “through narrow political considerations you chose a covenant with the ultra-Orthodox instead of with the Zionist majority.”

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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 “Liberman Buys Time for Coalition, Hareidim Not Buying Idea of Service in Jewish Army”

  1. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Since the implementation of the Tal law, the number of Chareidim doing national service has doubled every year. Around 7500 18 year old Chareidim are eligible to be drafted each year. While the numbers accumulate by deferrals, in 2011, around 2000-2500 Chareidim did IDF or National Service. That's around 30%. It's an excellent start for such a radical change in a the way the community behaved previously.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
What's happened to NYC's Celebrate Israel Parade?
Israel Rejects as ‘False’ UJA Federation’s Claims about Israel Parade ‘Inclusion’
Latest News Stories
FIFA logo

Israel praises FIFA for avoiding what Israel’s deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely called an “absurd situation.”

FIFA president Sepp (Joseph) Blatter and PM Binyamin Netanayhu

FIFA Pres. Sepp Blatter, 79, was re-elected to a fifth term heading the world soccer federation, despite bribery allegations.

PA's soccer chief Jibril Rajoub, a member of the Fatah Central Committee.

At the last minute before the proposal was to go to vote, Rajoub submitted an amendment that would cancel the bid to suspend Israel.

FIFA logo

Zurich police have confirmed there was a bomb threat to blow up the FIFA congress, but they have since allowed the annual convention to continue following a search.

Israeli Consul General refutes UJA president’s claim that government insists NIF march in Celebrate Israel parade.

They stopped Blatter from speaking, waved PA flags and demanded “Israel out.”

Reishit HaGez is the giving to the Kohen the first cuttings of the fleece of sheep grown in the Land of Israel (based on Deut. 18:4: “You are to give them the first fruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep.”). Most Jews cannot […]

Postal officials refuse mailmen’s request to be relieved of the job to deliver Baptist cult material that may be illegal.

Final steps are underway for building the City of David’s “Kedem” visitor’s center in Jerusalem that will sit on top of the “Givati Parking Lot” excavation just outside of the Old City of Jerusalem’s walls. The visitor’s center will serve as an entryway to the Jerusalem Walls National Park, which includes the City of David […]

The Orthodox Union, B’nai Brith and the Houston Federation are pitching in.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared Sunday, May 31 as “Celebrate Israel Day,” when thousands of Israeli Americans, Jews and supporters of Israel are to attend the Celebrate Israel Boston Festival sponsored by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Israeli-American Council Boston Chapter. Gov. Baker noted that Israel remains “a tremendous partner, economically and culturally,” to […]

The “rabbi “may be a “reverend” who allegedly was not revered by Ice Cube’s bullies.

Israeli PM Netanyahu talks about his vision for regional cooperation with Arab nations.

Hadera drew the attention of El Paso officials for the city’s desert environment, a large electric power plant, desalination plant and manufacturing complex, and the high-tech incubation programs at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, located 30 miles away.

A day devoted to “peaceful co-existence” in Jerusalem was marred by Arab “anti-normalization” thugs.

At least a dozen people are reported to have been killed in the attack, and another 30 wounded.

More Articles from Malkah Fleisher
Godzilla (R.)

A green bell pepper affectionately dubbed “Godzilla” by the children of Moshav Ein Yahav in the northern Arava desert has won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Though the permissibility of watching hired sports players go to battle in a large stadium is a source of controversy amongst Torah observant Jews, the food being served at the upcoming Super Bowl games in New Orleans is not.

Rabbi Yitzchok Moully, youth director at the Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, will be introducing a new art installation in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of Trees, inspired by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.

More than 2,000 people have made contributions in memory of the young victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut to plant a grove of trees in Israel.

Shoshana Hebshi, a half-Jewish, half-Arab woman from Ohio is suing Frontier Airlines, the FBI, TSA and other governmental agencies after she says she was forced off a flight, strip-searched, and imprisoned on the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.

Women may enter military combat in the United States, following the lift of a military ban on women in combat by defense secretary Leon Panetta.

The Jewish National Fund will reconsider a plan to forest parts of the Arava desert, following the request of environmental organizations to consider the impact of trying to alter the native ecosystem.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Israel and western countries not to attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear program through military means.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/liberman-buys-time-for-coalition-hareidim-not-buying-mitzvah-of-protecting-israel-in-jewish-army/2012/07/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: