Sunday, June 7, 2009

Supreme Court To Consider Sending 50,000 Yeshiva Students Into The Army


I am quite aware that it is important for us to have both those who fight with weapons and those who fight with prayer—but this has gotten completely out of hand, Right now, over 50,000 students are exempt.

Let’s be honest: not every young man who sits down with a book has the capacity, the intellect, or the drive to become a great scholar.

The answer to this problem is a compromise, where the heads of the Yeshivas can recognize the top 10% of their students to be exempt, and release the rest of their students for service. Those students can always return after their service to study more!

This would be a win-win-win situation for Israel.

First, it would increase the level of Torah knowledge.
Those young men who are studying in yeshivot would compete for those few slots as the upper 10%, and they would improve their learning dramatically. We would see a flowering of Torah knowledge unlike any other time in modern history.

Can you imagine how serious this study will get when the young men realize that they face national service if they cannot learn at the very top levels? First, we would see a major decline in smoking, drinking, and drug use at the yeshivas (come on, admit it--it is a very serious problem right now!), and we would see an immediate surge in the number of students demanding more from their teachers. Instead of their rabbis trying to force-feed knowledge, the young men will demand knowledge! Their hunger for Torah will intensify, forcing even the best of their rabbis to increase their knowledge as well.

Second, the army would be forced to recognize the need to understand Jewish law and apply it appropriately within the ranks.
The IDF would have to become much more aware of the decisions they make and how those decisions square with Halaka—decisions such as orders of expulsion against Jews, performing tasks not absolutely necessary to the protection of life on Shabbat and holidays, and the integration of men and women into the same units.

Placing tens of thousands of Haredim into the ranks would be the end of placing men and women into the same units, and the beginning of the IDF admitting it has NEVER treated men and women the same way. Most of the women receive inferior weapons, training, and opportunity even when they serve in the same units with men. Perhaps, if women are in separate units, the training and opportunities for women will improve because they will receive equal funding for the women’s units.

Last, and probably most important, the Haredim would receive needed training in the planning, implementation, and execution of modern military operations including the use of modern weapons, weapons systems, aircraft, and naval vessels. These skills are essential to preparation for the practically unavoidable and quickly building civil war between the religious and secular in Israel. Without this training, the religious don’t have a chance to secure Israel against the mounting international pressure to give in to the arabs and surrender our holy sites.

Although many Haredim may think that military training is somehow beneath them or would somehow infect them with unholiness (although it was never beneath our Patriarchs, Prophets, and Sages), they need this training desperately. They may not know it yet, but once they are trained, they will thank Hashm from the center of their souls.

Those yeshiva students, above all others, should realize that Hashm is in charge, even when a secular Supreme Court may be making the decisions.

Remember the lesson of Balaam! Even when our enemies try to curse us, they will bless us!

High Court to Force Haredi Religious Jews to Serve in the Army?
by Yehudah Lev Kay

( The Supreme Court on Sunday considered annulling the Tal law which allows hareidi religious rabbinical students to avoid army service while they continue their studies.

Five human rights groups appealed to the court claiming the law discriminates against the rest of the Israeli population which serves for a mandatory three years. The Defense Ministry claims that the law is in fact designed to increase Haredi participation in Israeli society.

A nine-judge panel began deliberations in the morning to consider the legality of the Tal law. Several soldiers' rights groups protested outside as the State Prosecutor tried to convince the justices that the law was designed to increase haredi religious participation, not decrease it. Lawyer Avi Licht also warned that the process would take time.

“The army does not need 50,000 haredim who don’t want to serve,” he told the judges. “You need to look at the reality here. Forcing haredim to serve in the army would create a societal crisis."

The long-standing agreement between the Defense Ministry and the haredi religious population represented by the Tal law has been in the court’s crosshairs for the last decade. In 1999, the court ruled that the norms which had until then been in place on the issue had to be formalized into a law.

The Tal Commission, headed by retired justice Tzvi Tal, recommended an appropriate law to settle the controversy. The measure passed the Knesset in 2002. According to the law, hareidi religious men who remain in yeshiva can avoid military service as long as they study and do not work. After the age of 22, rabbinical students who want to leave yeshiva have the choice of completing either a shortened military service or . . . (More)

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