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November 25, 2015 / 13 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ultra Orthodox’

Haredim Being Drafted – to Ukrainian Army

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

If not in Israel, then in the Ukraine.

Ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities received draft notices to report to the Ukrainian army draft center, according to a report in Maariv.

Yeshiva students from multiple yeshivas in Kiev, including Chabad students, were told to report to the draft center, in response to the increasing tensions with Russia.

Unlike in the IDF, Jewish soldiers in the Ukrainian army cannot get kosher food (much less, Glatt Kosher food), cannot have beards, and must work on Shabbat – which is they day they clean the base. They certainly won’t be guaranteed time for daily prayers like they would be in the IDF.

Some of the students are considering running away to Israel.

The only question is, this time, will the Jews in the Ukraine decide to run away before it’s too late, or only after it’s too late.

To Rally or Not, That is the Question

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

There were two blocks debating each other in many of the settlements this Shabbat, and both sides raised some very valid points.

On one side are the pro-rally settlers who plan to go join in the Haredi anti-draft protest.

Their positions are as follows:

1. Haredim are currently on target for the army’s annual draft expectations from the Haredi community. At this growth rate, they’ll definitely reach the army’s goals in 2017.

So why in the world is the government suddenly introducing criminal sanctions onto the Haredi community, when, despite the difficulties, they’re meeting their numbers?

2. If this were about all citizens sharing the burden, why are Lapid and friends ignoring the Arabs?

3. If this were really only about the draft, then why were Lapid and friends going after Hesder, until Bennett cut some sort of deal with him?

4. If we don’t stand with the Haredim now, when Lapid and friends go after the settlements (and Hesder), we won’t be able to count on the Haredim as allies.

5. If Lapid and friends succeed, in the next elections, they’ll be big enough to not need Bennett and the restrictions he’s placed on them, and then Hesder, the Settlements and the National-Religious community are really going to really be in trouble.

The pro-rally groups raises some very important points, that seem to indicate that this bill and the attacks on the Haredi community are more about populism, elections, hurting the Torah and the religious sector as a whole.

On the anti-Rally side, the following arguments were put forth:

1. Everyone should do the army, and its not fair to everyone else that the Haredim aren’t doing their share.

2. If the Haredi position was really only about Torah learning and how Torah learning protects the State and they’re sharing in the burden by learning – and not based on an anti-Zionist ideology, then why aren’t they at least saying the prayers for the State and IDF soldiers in their shuls.

Since they don’t, it proves this protest is not about being drafted, but rather not wanting to be a partner in the State of Israel itself and not caring for anyone else outside their community.

3. Lapid won’t be able to hurt the Hesder programs and the religious in the army, because we make up 50% of the combat units, so we don’t need the Haredim as allies for that.

4. The Dati-Leumi and Settler communities simply can’t count on the Haredim to stand by us. They didn’t stand with us during Gush Katif, and they only care about their own communities and whoever pays them enough to support their lifestyles. They don’t care about anyone else’s Torah community besides their own (see Gafni’s threats to destroy Hesder and the settlements).

We gain nothing by standing with them, and some people even said, they’re getting what they deserve.

The anti-Rally group also raises some extremely valid points – essentially the isolationist approach of the Haredi community has proven that Haredim are unreliable allies, and incapable of seeing themselves as part of the greater religious and Jewish community in Israel, and acting on that partnership, so why should we act for them, when we think they should be drafted anyway, just like we are.

What do I conclude from all this?

First of all, there’s no doubt the Haredi community has shot itself in the foot, and the Dati-Leumi community may very well follow in their footsteps.

National-Religious Rabbis to Participate in Haredi Anti-Draft Rally

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Some big name rabbis in the National-Religious (Dati-Leumi) community plan to participate in the Haredi anti-draft rally on Sunday, to show their solidarity with the Haredim.

Among these rabbis are Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Rav Shlomo Aviner and Rav Yaakov Shapira.

The Haredim are protesting the Shaked Committee Bill, which will require that Haredim begin serving in the IDF and criminalizes draft dodging. MK Ayelet Shaked is member of the National Religious Jewish Home Party.

The position these Dati-Leumi rabbis are taking is that they will “not let the government divide the Dati-Leumi and Haredi communities… and harm Torah learning.”

Other Dati-Leumi rabbis are against the three rabbis’ participation in the rally.

Haredi MK Moshe Gafni (Yahadut HaTorah) told Makor Rishon that, to avenge the Shaked law, as soon as he is back in power, he will destroy the Hesder Yeshivas — where students both study Torah and serve in elite combat units.

MK Gafni also threatened to end all funding to the settlements, and to dry them out, as soon as he is back in a government role. For the record, his one government role so far has been, during the 12th Knesset (this one is the 19th): Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs.

In the past, in retaliation for budget cuts that hurt Haredi families, MK Gafni, who Chairs the Knesset Science and Technology Committee, also threatened to intentionally create problems the Finance Ministry would have to spend a lot of state money to fix.

Protest of Half a Million Haredim to Shut Down Jerusalem on Sunday

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Approximately half a million Haredim are expected to turn out for a massive “million-man” rally in Jerusalem early Sunday afternoon to protest the pending legislation to jail Haredim who refuse to report for duty in the IDF.

Highway 1, the major highway from Tel Aviv to the capital, will be closed at the entrance to the city from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., as well as Yafo (Jaffa) Road and other main arteries.

The Jerusalem branch of the Histadrut national labor union has issued a call to employers to release all workers from work by 12:30 p.m., with a full day’s pay, so they can head for home before mammoth traffic congestion. At least 1,700 buses are expected to bring Haredim to Jerusalem form all parts of the country for the protest, according to Daniel Bonfiel, director of the Jerusalem branch of the Histadrut.

That works out to more than 120,000 Haredi protesters, not including those from Jerusalem. However, Bonfiel predicted that 600,000 Haredim will attend the demonstration

The number of people who are defined as “Haredi” in the entire country varies from a bit less than half a million to 900,000.

The weather forecast favors the Haredim, with temperatures expected to be higher than usual for this time and no rain in sight.

Given this winter’s drought, one of the worst in recent memory, the Haredi community is wasting a wonderful opportunity to use their physical and spiritual powers to pray for rain.

But why waste prayers for rain that would help Zionist farmers, and anyway, who needs the water from the Kinneret since it may not be Kosher for Passovers, so who cares? The Haredi demonstrators will most probably leave the chore for praying for rain to the less Orthodox Jews and carry on with their protest.

Sunday’s black-hat rally is only the first shot in the Haredi war – and that is the correct word – against the Knesset in general and specifically Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh {arty who paraded through the last general elections on a platform that included getting rid of the rite of exempting Haredi youth from serving in the IDF so they can stay in yeshiva. That includes a large number who are listed as yeshiva students but spend most of their day at home, working for money “under the table” so they don’t have to pay taxes, or catching up on the latest Internet YouTube videos.

A vast number really do learn in yeshivas, supporting their rabbis’ claims that their devoting time to learning Torah is Israel’s real defense.

Let’s leave that issue aside for the reader and God to decide.

Lapid has either climbed up a very safe political leader or has crawled out on the longest limb on the highest tree he could find. There is not way he can retreat, and the Haredi rabbis refuse to compromise. For them, the IDF is treif. There is no middle ground.

Lapid has the support of a large majority of Israelis, who for years have suffered from the Haredi stranglehold on almost every government coalition, the budget and even the future of Jews in Judea and Samaria.

For decades, money for yeshiva has been their platform, which explains why the Sephardi Haredi party backed the Oslo Accords lest the government coalition fall.

Two year ago, Lapid’s success and that of the Jewish Home changed everything. The only way that the Haredi parties will be needed in a government is if the coalition breaks up over U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace talk follies, and that is unlikely, much to the dismay of Kerry and his boss.

That leaves the Haredim and Lapid to fight it out.

A Kosher Supermarket is About to Close and the Question is Why

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

The announcement by the 75-year old Crown Market in West Hartford, Connecticut, that it would be closing sent shock waves through the Jewish community.

Mark Bakeoff, who bought the market five years ago, said tough economic conditions and increasing competition have made things difficult, but the biggest blow came with “one of the worst winters on record in a decade.” Despite attempts to save the market, the owner is not optimistic. Sources told Kosher Today that the store did not cater to the community’s small but growing Orthodox community.

Mark Silk, a professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Hartford, explains that one of the reasons Crown Market is closing  is because “the Ultra-Orthodox did not believe the market was kosher enough and refused to patronize it.” Silk goes on to explain that modern Judaism has seen a decline among what he terms the “Modern Orthodox” and an increase in the number of Ultras. Rabbi Ilana Garber, a Conservative rabbi and a loyal Crown customer, is leading the efforts to save the supermarket.

The announcement of the pending closure resulted in some soul searching by many Jews in the community. One blogger wrote: “I chose to shop at the new neighborhood Wal-Mart because we wanted to save money. What I realize now, much too late, is that if I had shopped at Crown and paid a little bit more, I would have been supporting this important part of the Jewish community that we cherish and love. And now, with a heavy heart, I admit I was wrong. I apologize. I know that isn’t enough. I wish it were. I wish I could promise to shop there for now on. I wish I could get 500 families to pledge to do the same. I wish I had known they were in trouble so I could have done something, anything.”

Other bloggers also shed tears and one vacationer in Turks and Cacos even placed an order long distance. Many markets and even restaurants have opened because of a pledge of community support only to close when the support was not forthcoming. The upscale Le Masada Restaurant in the Hyatt Regency in Chicago was one such case in the late ‘90’s.

Meet the Torah Scholars-Soldiers Who Defend Israel (Video)

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Soldiers in a new IDF company called “Defenders of the Negev” maintain an observant Jewish lifestyle and learn Torah while they work to protect the State of Israel.

Their service reflects an important goal of the IDF –  to help Haredi Orthodox Jews integrate into the army.

The combat soldiers, all “ultra-Orthodox Jews,” undergo six months of special training that focuses on infantry patrol, pinpoint operations and even basic lessons in Arabic that enable them to communicate with the population that lives in the area.

Throughout this process, these soldiers are able to preserve their religious lifestyle. During their basic training and course, they study religion and Jewish tradition with rabbis, just as they would in a traditional yeshiva. The soldiers regularly pray, study Torah and even have a special kitchen that prepares kosher food to an extra-high standard.

“They have everything they were accustomed to here,” explains Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, Chief Military Rabbi to the IDF. “Everything has remained the same, except for maybe spending the night in a sleeping bag.”

The difference between the “ultra-Orthodox” youth in the program and typical Haredi draft dodgers is that they don’t wear black hats and black suits. They are what in Israel is called “Hardal,” an acronym for Haredi national religious.

However, the IDF also has a program for Haredi black hatters to join the army and learn Torah, as some Haredi Zionists do as opposed to the masses who follow their anti-Zionist rabbis.

One of the “Hardal” soldiers is New Jersey native Eliyahu Frankel, whose father told the IDF, “He woke up one morning and decided this is what he wants to do, and we think he has been enormously successful here.”

Solder Eliyahu says, “I have been able to pray three times a day and study Torah. I decided to enlist in the IDF because I wanted to contribute to the country and protect its citizens.” He said his training has helped him “understand the other side and to stick together.”

Haredi black hats are welcome.

Lapid Freezes Funding for Draft-Delayed Haredim

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday froze the money going to Haredi yeshivas, following a Tuesday Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to halt all payments to yeshivas whose students’ draft has been postponed.

Lapid instructed the Finance Ministry’s comptroller to freeze the payments, but on Thursday he issued a statement saying that, after discovering that the funds had already been sent to the Education Ministry, he convened an emergency meeting with his comptroller following which he ordered her to block those funds as well.

Lapid’s statement said that this was done in an effort to obey the high court’s ruling.

Now the two offices will be cooperating to separate the 18- to 20-year-old yeshiva students with an August draft postponement, who will not be paid, from the rest of the yeshiva students.

“These will no longer receive state funds,” said the Lapid statement. “Only once the Education Ministry’s examination of their cases is concluded will the Finance Ministry release the funds to those yeshiva students not included in the court ruling.”

The Supreme Court ruled on several appeals from so called good government groups. The court ordered government to issue an updated announcement by March 31 regarding the pay, saying the justices might issue a new decision should the Knesset not come up with new legislation by then.

Meanwhile, the justices have prohibited government to transfer any funds “intended to support Torah institution students born in 1994, 95 and the first half of 96, who received their draft date starting in August, 2013, and who have not shown up to be drafted based on general decisions to postpone their draft made by the IDF Chief of Staff.”

So, everybody wins: Lapid gets to show his few remaining potential voters that he’s tough on parasitic Haredim; the Haredi yeshiva deans get to show the world that Israel hates Torah; and Yeshiva students and their families get a rare opportunity to drop their nasty habit of eating several times a day and living in homes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lapid-freezes-funding-for-draft-delayed-haredim/2014/02/06/

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