Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why do Orthodox Jews refuse to serve in IDF?

For the past several months, I have been trying to understand the Charedi objection to the draft. I don't want to believe that they really believe that their Blood is redder than mine and while my son should risk his life (in addition to learning Torah), their son should just learn Torah.

Why should my son be forced out of the Beit Midrash to fulfill his national obligation while Charedi students - who may or may not be better at learning than my son - feel that have an automatic right to be exempt.

However all explanations I have seen from Charedi spokespeople are based on outright lies, and are insulting to anyone who disagrees with them.

The video below repeats the common claim that the only reason that the "Zionists" want to draft Charedim is to assimilate them.
They can't conceive of a possibility that Israelis see something unfair about putting their son's lives at risk while other's don't.
They can't imagine that the army can't automatically reduce the potential pool of soldiers by 30%.

Like other Charedi spokespeople, he (mis-)quotes early Zionist leaders as saying the objective of Zionism is to change the Charedim, and the only reason to draft them is so that the army can indoctrinate them in views that are contrary to traditional Judaism (without specifying exactly what values the army is pushing that they object to).
He didn't quote any contemporary politicians, only Jabotinsky who died before the IDF was created. Are there any contemporary politicians who want to use the army to "indoctrinate" the Charedim, if so, why doesn't he quote any of them?

He says further that even if the army was to adopt Halachic requirements, this wouldn't change the army's "indoctrination" objectives, without explaining what he means by this.

He can't even conceive of any reason to draft the Charedim other than the fact that all Zionists Hate Torah.

The video is extremely offensive, comparing "The Zionists" (including religious Zionists) to the Greeks, Romans, and other enemies of the Jewish people, and claim that the draft wants to take Yeshiva Students like Sheep to the Slaughter. Possibly the most offensive line is that he claims that All observant Jews, without exception, are against the draft - i.e. cutting off about half of the religious Jews in Israel.

But the most illogical argument I have ever heard is "Their [The Zionist's] Jewish heroes are our our [Charedi] Jewish villains" - for the Zionists Bar Kochba was a hero, but the Chredim call him Bar Koziva - the fraud.
So he claims that Rabbi Akiva who supported Bar Kochba was a Zionist, as was the RaMBaM who brings down Rabbi Akiva's opinion of Bar Kochba to form his definition of Moshiach.
Meanwhile the Charedim are aligned with the Romans and early Christians who opposed Bar Kochba.

I am still waiting for a real argument why there should be a blanket exemption for all Charedim.
If the army is unable to provide an environment that conforms the the Charedi lifestyle, I understand and even support the charedi objection to the draft. 
However, the law which passed its first reading yesterday allows for 1800 illuim (scholars)  to continue their learning without interruption, and the army is looking for ways to accommodate the Charedim without compromising their values - i.e., separation between men and women, higher standards of kashrut, time for learning and Tfilla. If the army is able to continue to provide such an environment for Charedi soldiers (as it does now in Nachal Charedi and other programs), what is the objection to the Chredi draft?

(Interesting that Wikipedia says that a synonym for "Villain" is "Black Hat", which I guess means that Bar Kochba couldn't have been a villain - he never wore a black hat)

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