Which Knee Bends

by yonitidi

Rabbi says call-up notices must be ignored

As new government prepares to recruit haredim, ultra-Orthodox sector steps up its war. Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach calls on yeshiva students not to report to IDF draft centers as call-up notice ‘clearly aimed at imposing real service duty’
Itzchak Tessler

The ultra-Orthodox street is up in arms following Finance Minister Yair Lapid‘s Knesset speech and the expected educational and military recruitment plans, and senior rabbis are rushing to speak their mind too.


Hapeles newspaper, the mouthpiece of the haredi-Lithuanian public, published a sweeping order on behalf of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, one of the Ashkenazi haredi public’s two prominent leaders, forbidding yeshiva students to report to the Israel Defense Forces recruitment centers.

An ad published under the title, ‘The yeshiva head’s opinion, states that “as the draft decree is a decree of destruction and uprooting religion, and right now the entire issue of reporting is clearly for sorting and assignment for the purpose of real service duty, it is forbidden to report at all.”

The Knesset’s Committee for Promoting Equal Share of the Burden, headed by Science Minister Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid), convened for the first time 10 days ago as part of the coalition agreement, following the establishment of a new government without haredi parties.


Representatives of the IDF and the Civil Service Administration attended the meeting and stressed they were prepared to intake haredi enlistees. Perry said at the end of the meeting, “In six weeks we will have a historic law. This is a sensitive process, but the IDF’s needs are our first priority.”


Sharpening tone

The haredi public is beginning to comprehend that as opposed to the past, the political and military systems are preparing to draft haredim, and estimates are that is the reason rabbis have chosen to issue an explicit call.


In recent weeks yeshiva heads have turned to prominent rabbis, asking them what they should tell students who receive a notice to report to recruitment centers.


Rabbi Auerbach’s associates began sharpening their tone against the draft attempts more than a month ago. The rabbi stated at the time that “when they threaten to take some guy, it’s not that guy’s personal problem; it’s the problem of all the Jewish people. They are considering ways to do it by plotting against individuals, but it’s not the personal problem of the family or the guy, but of all the people of Israel.


“When they attempt to uproot religion, every single person and every individual they try to hurt and take – it’s part of the destruction, part of the uprooting of religion.”


In recent months, yeshiva students have been reporting to recruitment centers upon receiving their first call-up notices, after it was made clear to them that the medical examinations and interviews would not necessarily lead to active service, as there was no restriction on the number of exemptions from military service received by yeshiva students based on the “Torah study is his profession” principle.


But following the expected changes, which Rabbi Auerbach refers to as a “destruction decree and uprooting of religion,” his associates decided to issue an explicit call.


It will be a contest of will, who will bend first the State or the haredim?

Let’s be clear it is time to play hard ball. The haredi world as it is today in Israel is not an economic model that can be sustained.

So the choice must be made very simple.

Join all of Am Israel and let’s move together to build a better Jewish home land or we can fracture and weaken the Jewish homeland.

The government must not back down and it must enact laws with teeth.

1. 100% of all Haredi boys will be tested, the top 1800 boys will serve the Jewish home land by learning Torah under a tightly structured system, very much like IDF service.

2. The rest of the boys will be drafted into Haredi units that will serve on the borders of Israel, and also be allowed to study Torah as duties allow.

3. Any Rabbi telling his students not to go must be arrested for sedition. Any and all religious organizations that are tied to this Rabbi will loose 100% of funding and 100% of the boys attending will be drafted into the IDF. If any dual citizen refuses service or tells others to refuse service, they will be deported.

4. Any religious school K-12 that is headed by a Rabbi that resist the draft will loose 100% of government funding.