Monday, April 30, 2012

Haredim, secular Israelis and the Army


I read in a secular Israeli paper that more than 70% of the country's population want to see Haredim joining the army. If necessary, by force. A topic secular papers don't like mention a lot is that plenty of secular Israelis try to get around the army service because they simply don't want to join. 

Two weeks ago, a working colleague of mine was ordered to an army base because he hadn't participated in the annual reserve duty (Miluim) for the past two years. My colleague had kept his address as a secret and thus the army wasn't able to contact him and call him in for Miluim.

As soon as my colleague stepped into the army base, he got arrested. He was put into the military prison "Kele 4" and, surprise, surprise, he wasn't alone. Plenty of other Israelis had hidden themselves from the reserve duty and were waiting for their trial. After three days, my colleague went to court and was sent home. The army doesn't need him (although he was in a combat unit) and his punishment was changing his rank. From First Corporal to and ordinary Corporal. I am not too familiar with military ranks.:-)

In the end, the colleague won despite all his lazyness joining the reserve duty. He is free and the army is not interested in him anymore. Obviously there is no need for thousands of people joining the army. 

However, this doesn't mean that Haredim don't have to go to the army. I think they should although I am aware of all kinds of haredi society problems and Rabbi's decisions. I assume that secretly, many young Haredim would love to join in an entirely haredi unit but are too afraid due to society reactions. For instance, it will be hard finding a good Shidduch afterwards or the siblings won't get accepted into popular Yeshivot.

Personally I find it unfair that only one part of society is protecting our country. G - d asks us to do something and He will help but if we don't do, what are we expecting G - d to do ? I also find it unfair when young soldiers give their lives for their country and certain young Yeshiva guys don't even go to their classes / Chavrutas but hang around donwtown Jerusalem simply doing nothing. 


  1. As a Jewish member from Galut, and not from Eretz Yisrael, I usually refrain sharing my comments on Tsahal issues, however, hareidi people also want all of us study Torah day and night, yet they do not force us! Although I may understand ordinary people's regret, and although I am not to be considered as Hareidi, I believe they constitute a dual pillar of spiritual Tsahal of Yisrael together with the (materialistic) Tsahal.
    Nissim Rephael Ben Alkabets

  2. The real problem is that you and secular society dont think that the Torah learning done by these groups is just as effective at keeping Israel safe since Hashem is the one running the world.

  3. B"H

    There definitely is a dual pillar and we need an army as well as Torah learning at the same time. I don't have any doubt about it !!!

    First of all, I am not so sure if there aren't many young haredim who would like to join the army. In their own entirely haredi unit.

    Why am I coming to this conclusion ?

    When there is a certain event and soldiers or military equipment is around, do you know how fast young Haredim show up, look at all this curiously and start talking to the soldiers ?

    The second thing is that not all Haredim are made for Torah learning. That is very human and each of us has his or her own individual abilities. One works in craft, one in an office and nother one in computer science or anything else. As Rabbi Hirsch wrote in his commentary on Parashat Toldot, Esav was the type who wanted to move around. To work and create something with his hands. Yaakov, on the other hand, was the Yeshiva learning type.

    In the end, Rabbi Hirsch comes to the conclusion that if Yitzchak had sent Esav to work, he may have turned out as a better person.

    Another example I want to give:
    Years ago, I used to live in an almost entirely haredi neighbourhood in Jerusalem. Every day when I went to catch the bus for work, I saw about 20 if not more, young Haredim just standing around in corners and staring at the people passing by. They looked bored and I don't think that they went to Yeshiva, as when I came back or was on a day off, they were still standing around at the same spots. Not always talking to each other but just staring.

    Although it is right that a Haredi should learn Torah, fact is that there are many who don't but walk around in downtown Jerusalem. They sit at Internet - Cafes for hours, walk in parks or sit at public libraries surfing the Internet.

    This is why I think that there are certain Haredim who should join the army, and I am not looking into the topic of "anti - Zionism" here. This is another complicated subject.

    What I am trying to say is that there are various young Haredim to whom the army service would be a positive change in life: Like taking responsibility.

  4. B"H

    The army is no place for any frum Jew. And most people know the army doesn't want us either.

    It just the secular newspapers who are adamant in continually posting this nonsense.

    Why not write about all the chilonim who don't serve.Talk about a double standard. Then they'll say we don't work or pay taxes.

    Little do they know you'll find in many communities people who work full time and pay taxes.They might even be surprised to see that many even hold qualifications from University.

    Gut Shabbos