Photo Credit: Yehonatan Kellerman / TPS
Demonstrators from 'The Jerusalem Faction' blocking the road at Shilat Junction to protest the arrest of a draft dodger from their group. Oct 19, 2017.

The past few days Jerusalem and other Israeli cities are suffering from violence, rioting, traffic disturbances and worse as many young, fit chareidi men “protesting” serving in the IDF, Israel’s army. The excuse they give for not serving in the army, even in the special chareidi units, is that it would cause them to leave their prime holy occupation of studying Torah.

If studying Torah is so crucially important to their lives, why aren’t they in the Beit Medrash, Study Hall?


The effects of their rioting have been absolutely awful for many people in Israel. They are causing a major chillul Hashem, hatred of all things Jewish and connected to Torah. They are going against all aspects of the crucial derech eretz.

Even if there is truth to the claim that the “demonstrators” are from the followers of a small extreme rabbi, there’s no excuse. Considering the numbers and enthusiasm of the rioters, it’s hard to fathom the claim that this is a small marginal group.   And if so, where are the real leaders of chareidim, and why aren’t they stopping it?

Many esteemed Torah leaders, even chareidi, have shown great respect for our soldiers who risk their lives and postpone their education to protect us us here in Israel. And in the Torah it clearly states that all of the People of Israel must fight together against our enemies. This anti-IDF ideology is actually anti-Torah and anti-Jewish.

Torah Reading for Matot-Massei

5They said, “If it pleases you, let this land be given to your servants as a heritage; do not take us across the Jordan.” הוַיֹּֽאמְר֗וּ אִם־מָצָ֤אנוּ חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ יֻתַּ֞ן אֶת־הָאָ֧רֶץ הַזֹּ֛את לַֽעֲבָדֶ֖יךָ לַֽאֲחֻזָּ֑ה אַל־תַּֽעֲבִרֵ֖נוּ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּֽן:
6[Thereupon,] Moses said to the descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben, “Shall your brethren go to war while you stay here? ווַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֔ה לִבְנֵי־גָ֖ד וְלִבְנֵ֣י רְאוּבֵ֑ן הַֽאַחֵיכֶ֗ם יָבֹ֨אוּ֙ לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאַתֶּ֖ם תֵּ֥שְׁבוּ פֹֽה:

29Moses said to them, “If the descendants of Gad and Reuben cross the Jordan with you armed for battle before the Lord, and the Land is conquered before you, you shall give them the land of Gilead as a heritage.

כטוַיֹּ֨אמֶר משֶׁ֜ה אֲלֵהֶ֗ם אִם־יַֽעַבְר֣וּ בְנֵי־גָ֣ד וּבְנֵֽי־רְאוּבֵ֣ן | אִ֠תְּכֶ֠ם אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֞ן כָּל־חָל֤וּץ לַמִּלְחָמָה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה וְנִכְבְּשָׁ֥ה הָאָ֖רֶץ לִפְנֵיכֶ֑ם וּנְתַתֶּ֥ם לָהֶ֛ם אֶת־אֶ֥רֶץ הַגִּלְעָ֖ד לַֽאֲחֻזָּֽה:

30But if they do not cross over with you armed [for battle], they shall receive a possession among you in the land of Canaan.”

לוְאִם־לֹ֧א יַֽעַבְר֛וּ חֲלוּצִ֖ים אִתְּכֶ֑ם וְנֹֽאחֲז֥וּ בְתֹֽכְכֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן:

31The descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben answered, saying, “We shall do as the Lord has spoken to your servants. 


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Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.