ASSAULT AGAINST BNEI TORAH: High Court Cancels Chareidi Exemptions for Military Service

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In an 8-1 decision, The High Court of Justice on Tuesday, 21 Elul, eliminated the 2015 law regulating military service for Chareidim, a law which the Chareidim already view as compromise legislation.

The dramatic court ruling gave the government one year to pass a new law before default regulations kick in, which will require drafting all of-age men, with no exemptions for Chareidim R”L.

The law struck down was a 2015 amendment to the Equal Service Law, cancelling a more aggressive draft law lobbied for by Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party which sought to dramatically increase the number of Chareidim inducted to the IDF. That law passed in 2014. The amendment was passed in 2015 following the Knesset elections, when the Chareidi parties demanded it as a prerequisite to join a coalition led by Likud.

The High Court of Justice decided, in a majority opinion against the dissenting
Justice Noam Solberg, to accept four petitions to the court — three of which claimed the current arrangement discriminated against non Chareidim by not supplying them exemptions, and a fourth that argued it discriminated against Chareidim who are being asked to increase their military draft rate while other minorities, especially Israeli Arabs, are not required to serve at all.

The likely first step is to begin the process of legislating a law that will bypass the High Court decision, but it is unlikely the secular Kulanu party, which is a member of the coalition, would back such a bill.

Chareidi MKs responded furiously to the High court’s decision.

The first was MK Yisrael Eichler, who said this evening that “the High Court continues to tie the rope around the sources of oxygen to its public legitimacy. The Supreme Court justices have given personal responsibility for an all-out war against the Jewish religion.”

“The Torah will not be harmed, and its eternity is guaranteed to us forever. The one who will lose this ruling is the High Court of Justice and the State of Israel. Already at the opening of the session, we will join hands with other circles in the Knesset, who were hurt by the arm of the dictatorial regime in the court of law. Together we will work to pass a law that will reduce the ability of the High Court of Justice to harm Judaism and distort the laws of the Knesset.

“We will fight against anyone who tries to harm Torah scholars in the Holy Land,” he said, adding that yeshiva students would continue to study the holy Torah until the coming of the Messiah”.

Other chareidi MKs responded, using terms including “miserable and terrible” to describe the court’s decision.

Health Minister MK Yaakov Litzman said in response that “this is a miserable and bad decision that will enter the history of terrible rulings in the Jewish world. The High Court justices proved today that they are averse to Gedolei Torah in Israel and are curbing the steps of holy yeshiva students whose Torah is their profession.

“We will not allow any force in the world to prevent anyone from studying Torah, and it has been proven that any such act of coercion against Torah scholars, by law or any sanction, is doomed to failure. Torah study in the Jewish people throughout the generations, “said Litzman.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


24 COMMENTS

  1. It is time to put The High Court of Justice into real Heirem! If anyone knows Mekubalim who can do that contact them ASAP. I wonder how many of the majority opinion Justices would still be there by the end of the next year!

  2. This ruling is just one more dip in the perpetual rollercoaster ride of Israel politics and the issue of deferments to army service for full time Torah students. The left, not appreciating the value of Torah study, wish to right the “injustice” of laws granting exemptions to service for Torah students. The court really has no choice, for a democratic society cannot tolerate preferential laws, and rules against such laws, but allows it to remain for some time so that the Knesset can make a new “just” law. The left then celebrate their “victory” and the Charedi leaders rant against the attack on the Torah and her students. Being a powerful political force that the government needs, the charedi parties negotiate within the coalition and eventually a new preferential law (with ingenious clauses that somehow appease the secularists within the coalition) is furbished and after some more horse trading and the wink of the eye it is passed (if not the govt falls and their are new elections). The Charedim then celebrate their “victory” and the left rant over the “injustice”. They petition the Supreme Court to strike it down and the rollercoaster ride continues. The ride enfs when Moshiach arrives and all the Jews appreciate the Infinite value of the Torah and its study.

  3. So which is it? An assault on Bnei Torah or taking pride in Chareidi paratroopers reported yesterday? Talk about split personality. Waffles are good for breakfast, but not in Jewish hashkafa.

  4. 1. The Kenesset can pass a law. The problem is that public opinion may not support doing that since most Israelis are secular zionists, who accordingly see hareidim as mortal enemies and an existential threat (as opposed to the Arabs who are seen as a mere nuisance).

    2. Israel should consider switching to a professional rather than a conscript army. As it is, thye combat units are already “volunteers”. The army has no need for more jobniks.

    3. THe hilonim could try to force a confrontation, but while they are anti-Jewish, they aren’t suicidal. Israel has no need to announce to the world that a large percent of the Jewish population is anti-zionist.

  5. It’s time for introspection.

    It’s ironic that elements in the Yeshiva in the photo above, in Ponoviz, and maybe even the very boys in the photo, are engage these days in their own “assault against Bnei Torah”, with violence and vandalism between the two groups in the Yeshiva. If it would look like and project like a holy tribe, maybe then we can expect it to be treated as such…

  6. I disagree with the High Court. The law that allows people in Yeshiva to receive a deferment is not only for Chareidi people. The law allows anyone who wants to learn in a Yeshiva to receive a deferment, regardless of how frum they are. If there is a Chiloni that does not want to go to the army he can go to a Yeshiva and learn Torah. The law allows the deferments because it values people learning Torah, Jewish heritage. Keeping the Jewish nation Jewish.

  7. Its not time for “introspection”…its time for the MKs and leadership of the religious parties to finally come up with a meaningful proposal for kollel yungerleit who prefer not to serve in the IDF to perform some type of alternative public service that is consistent with halacha and benefits their communities. They can volunteer in hospitals, assisted living facilities, homeless shelters or whatever need they can serve. Such service would be conducted under the supervision of their rabbonim, shlita, and assure they have sufficient time for limudei torah and perhaps even learn some job skills that will later assist them in earning a parnassah. It is no longer feasible for a growing percentage of the population to disclaim any responsibility for national defense or service.

  8. P.S. And yes, I’m fully aware some take the position that learning is “national service” and excuses one from any obligation to risk one’s life to a terrorist knife attack or incur the burdens and inconveniences of sitting in a bunker on the Golan for weeks at a time in the freezing rain….Unfortunately, that’s not the position of most Israelis

  9. “The Torah will not be harmed, and its eternity is guaranteed…”
    Precisely why those interested in living Torah should man up and serve in the armed forces.
    ?האחיכם יבאו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה
    was not coined by yair lapid, it was asked by a shocked and horrified Moshe Rabeinu.
    The fundamental hashkafa that the Israeli chareidim have been oblivious to for the last 65+ years is “והייתם נקיים מהשם ומישראל
    Once they start living a lifestyle consistent with the Torah that they claim to represent, we stand a chance of being a nation worthy of redemption.

  10. To Chaver:

    Tell that to the brave yungerleit who study in the Hesder yeshivot or serve in the frum brigades in the IDF. These are frum yidden with a sense of mesiras nefesh for the tzibur who combine torah learning and national service. Sitting behind a shtender alone has not been shown to stop a terrorist from butchering chareidi women and children without a physical military presence nor has it been shown to stop terrorist rockets raining down on yeshivos, hospitals and homes from Gaza or Lebanon. There is zero reason why chareidi bochurim cannot provide some tangible service in addition to their learning.

  11. Chaver, note that actually a chiloni cannot get an army deferral to enroll in a yeshiva, since in order to get the deferral one must be classified as being a “ben yeshiva.” That means one has to have been enrolled in a charedi yeshiva for a certain number of years prior to being drafted. So if you want to learn Torah but were not previously registered in a charedi yeshiva, you are out of luck. If you have been in a yeshiva that learns secular studies as well as Torah, you also are not classified as a “ben yeshiva,” as such a yeshiva is not called a yeshiva by the government. So if you are a baal teshuva or you have American hashkafa and learned secular studies as well as Torah, but you wish to continue learning in a yeshiva after age 18, you can’t do that, and if you try to do so you are subject to being imprisoned. Israel, only country in the world where you can go to jail for learning Torah!

  12. “Chareidi amiti,” you do not have any idea what the IDF is like. It is designed to be a “melting pot” to create a homogenous , non-religious society. It’s not a viable option for a charedi bochur. It has nothing to do with “manning up.” Plus, have you by any chance noticed that medinat Yisrael is not a Torah state, and the IDF is not run by Dovid Hamelech? It’s nice that you claim yourself to be the real charedi. Do you even live in Israel? People in chu”l who are not subject to the draft often seem to be the most self-righteous.

  13. I have lived here more than twenty years, chochom. I interact with Israeli soldiers on a daily basis on a professional level.
    Many of my friends and some of my relatives have served in nachal chareidi, hesder or regular Keva army. The only reason I skipped army service was because I was learning in kollel for the better part of a decade, and they didnt want to pay for me when I was finished(the sallary rises with each child you have).
    It is the responsebility of each Torah Jew to develope the strongest immunity he can to resist temptations that pull him away from The Kadosh Baruch Hu, regardless if the army or medina is run by not yet frum Jews.
    Ones battle with his yetzer hara is his own responsibility. Noseh beOle im chaveiro is an individuals responsibility to Klal Yisrael, one which way to many “benei Torah” seem to have no problem throwing under the mehadrin bus.
    What you fear is that your israely chareidi chinuch will evaporate when you meet a normal chiloni PERSON for the first time, and see that he isnt the rabid Torah scroll burner that too many yidden make them out to be.
    Your fear speaks VOLUMES as to the chinuch that you have bought into.
    Chinuch that blows away from a ruach metzuya is FAILED CHINUCH!
    Rethink your misguided folly!

  14. And if medinat yisrael is far from a Torah state(I agree),
    then what are you doing to change that?
    Sitting and learning in your own dalled amos has not helped this!

  15. Round and round we go again. Every time this subject comes up, the same accusations are hurled back and forth.
    Why do people think that they will influence the attitudes and behavior of the Chareidi tzibbur? Because it doesn’t matter what you or I think or want or post on YWN.
    What matters is the opinion of the gedolei Torah. Why is this so difficult for frum people to understand? It’s not a matter of persuading someone or a few people that the Chareidi tzibbur should stop attending yeshiva and should sign up for the army.
    The tzibbur is following the da’as Torah of the gedolei Torah. Go to Reb Chaim Kanievsky, Rav A.L. Shteinman and the others, and (try to) persuade THEM that the Chareidi tzibbur is making a mistake by being in the yeshivas, and not being “nosei be’ol im chaveiro” and joining the army. If the rabbonim are persuaded, the Chareidim will immediately flock to the induction centers to fulfill what the leaders of our generation have ruled. As long as this is not the case, all the hot air being expended on this subject is just contributing to global warming.
    The tzibbur will continue to follow the da’as Torah of the gedolei Torah.

  16. american-yerushalmi:What did Reb Chaim And Reb Aron Leib say about beards, And what do the bnei yeshiva do AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I got it, they Pick and Choose.

  17. Rav Shteinman and Rav Kanievsky have instructed benei yeshivos to register at induction centers. This resulted in a not insignificant number of litvish insurgents to reject them as daas Torah and pick a new leader.
    It is naive to think that if the order came from benei brak tomorrow to donn green uniforms it would be followed. The defection rate to Hapeleg(read: dor haflaga) would turn into a torrent.
    Which leads me to this conclusion: this is five% about following daas Torah, and ninety five% about doing whats easy and convienent.
    Its not easy to emerge from the army spiritualy stronger than you were when you entered. But we werent put on this earth to take the easy way out. This is the “maning up” that I meant before.

  18. A zid, I see a problem that the gedolim, and indeed the chareidi tzibur, have failed to fix.
    I dont have time for your insults, as here in Eretz Yisrael a bunch of insurgents are trying to hijack all that I hold dear. I recomend that you try to look into the Torah you have learned and see if you can come up with some solutions that will work for twenty first century Yidden, instead of canned hashkafas that were hatched before the civil war.

  19. All those posters who consider themselves “barei plugta” of the gedolei Torah can keep on trying to persuade the masses (i.e., English speakers who read YWN) to abandon their shtenders and join the IDF. Continue posting degrading and impudent comments about the manhigei hador. That’s a great way to approach the Yomim Noraim. Why would I or anyone else forsake the guidance of the gedolei Torah and decide to follow your sagacious advice? Your impertinent ridiculing of the people whom the Chareidi tzibbur respects and strives to uphold is not going to get you anywhere you want to get to. I find it hard to believe that even one yeshiva bochur closed his gemara and joined the army because of all the presumptuous criticism of the gedolei hador. (Anyway, how many Hebrew-speaking Israelis read YWN?)
    BTW, if the IDF is not (and never was) interested in conscripting the yeshiva bochurim, why are you so interested in it? Perhaps you have some national security information of which Israel’s security establishment is unaware?
    A final word to YWN, that publishes news about Rav A.L. Sheinman’s great-granddaughter’s eirusin, and videos of Rav Chaim Kanievsky being mesader kidushin and making havdala (which is fine) but publishes these contemptuous comments about their da’as Torah.
    It’s as if you are saying, “Rav Chaim making havdala — that’s fine; but on hashkafas haTorah matters — every Tom, Dick and Amiti is qualified to argue with him and even denigrate his opinion, if he feels like doing so.” Readers get confused as to where you stand on these important matters.

  20. One who uses daas Torah as an excuse for anti Torah behavior, and has the chutzpa to hide behind great Rabbis any time his positions are challenged, simply highlights the failure of of his ideology.
    One day you will have to answer to Someone for perpetuating a problem that has:
    Encouraged hate and violence against other Jews(soldiers);
    That has led to resentment of chareidim by the non religious(by protecting those not learning from military service);
    That has raised several generations to believe that they have no responsibility to earn a living to support there wife and children, because they are spending time smoking in front of a kollel or yeshiva,
    That is mezalzel the secular world for being politicly correct, but bans any mention or discussion of the inconsistancies and failures of israeli society today.
    You will hide behind Daas Torah.
    Hashem will not fall for it.
    “You learned My Torah! You knew what it said. How come you didnt use your own judgment to do what is right?”
    How long are you going to throw these problems on other peoples laps? That is not “maning up”.

  21. “Amiti,” you make a lot of assumptions and you are also very quick to want other people to enlist when you admit you yourself did not serve. My son is serving in the IDF right now, so I know what I am talking about. Also, my husband and I are working, not sitting in kollel. Furthermore, why on earth do you assume I have never met a chiloni person or that I vilify them? Thanks for your tremendously helpful advice that I rethink my misguided folly. Meanwhile, Israeli politicians need to rethink theirs. (Since you know everything, maybe you should advise them.)

  22. Chareidi Amiti, you responded with a deluge of grievances against the Chareid tzibur, but have avoided answering my question. I suppose you don’t have to answer, but I’m taking note that you are not addressing what I wrote.
    I asked if you expect me and everyone else to forsake the “einei ha’eida” the manhigei hador. You haven’t answered that question. You simply reply using your recycled accusations and threats of what lies in store for those who followed the gedolei hador. The Chareidi tzibur has “the chutzpa to hide behind great Rabbis” (your words), but your intimations about what you think lies in store for us who won’t listen to you is not chutzpa.
    Do you honestly believe the IDF wants 10,000 basically useless guys in the army? To do what? There are too many soldiers as it is, hanging around many of the army bases doing nothing at all of importance. BTW, I write 10,000 because the discussion is only on guys aged 18-30 (some say even lower than 30). All the older avreichim are not even under possible consideration for conscription. Like any other army in the world.
    You threaten us (me?) that “one day you will have to answer to Someone for perpetuating a problem that has: encouraged hate and violence against other Jews(soldiers)” (your words).
    But, you feel you will be rewarded by Heaven for insulting the gedolei hador and ridiculing those who choose to follow them. FYI, no one advocates or supports violence against Jewish soldiers. If Christian missionaries came around to a frum neighborhood, would understand the rather cold reception they would face? Because of the background to the entire issue, some people, sometimes it’s just kids, “overreact” to something that the tzibur feels is a threat to their way of life. Even if you don’t agree, they have a right to their way of life. And they have a right not to feel threatened. I do agree that that sort of violence is uncalled for, and is probably counterproductive. But at least I understand why some of them do it.
    Do you truly believe that if more Chareidim joined the army, there would be less animosity toward the frum Jews by the secular? That they would accept and even “like” us? You are fooling yourself. The same way Eisav will never accept us, even when we tried to appear and behave un-Jewishly, which is what the “haskala” (“Enlighenment”) was all about 175 years ago. So too, those Jews who have adopted Eisav’s hatred will never be placated and will never accept or respect observant Jews. Especially since the secular Israeli media will never let that happen. Real or imagined, true or false accusations. It doesn’t matter. The TV, the news, the radio programs will always have something negative to say about observant Jews. After living r nearly 4 decades in the country, I know of what I speak. Until Moshiach comes, the secular “tzibur” (establishment) will always find something to fault the frum Jews. Joining the IDF won’t change a thing.
    You fault the avreichim for smoking? I agree they shouldn’t smoke at least for health reasons. But, do soldiers wearing the green NOT smoke? And often it’s not just tobacco. And some do all sorts of other very unsavory things – “in their free time” – but you probably don’t want to criticize the “holy warriors of Hashem” (sic), who can “do no wrong, especially when contrasted with the Chareidim.
    You then bring up the matter of working, which is truly a serious socio-economic issue among the Chareidi tzibur (mostly the Litvish) that is slowly moving toward a solution. Even the Israeli government agrees that army service might not be part of this solution. So, you’ll have to be patient on this one, because change will take a long time. As is the nature of far-reaching societal change. But vilifying the gedolei hador surely won’t accomplish anything positive.
    You claim to understand what Hashem wants from us even more than the manhigei hador. I must admit that this is rather presumptuous. Do you feel you are “manning up” by despising the tzibur that is trying to be oveid Hashem? And that your posts in English on YWN is somehow going to change something?
    It’s easy to hide behind the anonymity of the internet and hurl accusations at people who know more Torah that both you and I together.
    I’m sorry this got so long. I’ll sum up what I’m trying to get at. I’m asking if you think all the talmidei ha’yeshivos should leave their shtenders and join the IDF. And if they would do that, do you think that would decrease the hatred on the part of many seculars.
    Of course, you don’t have to pay any attention to my posts and questions. But, I’m curious to hear what you have to say about this. But if you do, please answer the question(s) and not just repeat your “taynas.”