Eichler: No Negotiating on the Chareidi Conscription Matter


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In an interview with Kikar Shabbos, MK (Yahadut HaTorah) Yisrael Eichler explains at present there are no ongoing negotiations between chareidim and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the final touches are being put on the bill to compel chareidim to serve in the IDF or approved national service program.

He mentions that there is a coalition agreement, which in his eyes is binding, adding the idea of punishing those who genuinely and truly learn torah is preposterous and unacceptable – that such a reality has not existed since the days of communist Russia. That is what they did at that time.

“There is total cooperation between us and Shas since in essence, there is no difference in the torah of Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita, HaRosh Yeshiva HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita, the Belzer Rebbe Shlita and the Gerrer Rebbe Shlita.

“They simply want to take away their yiddishkheit. If I give my word that I will remove the yarmulke from 1,000 talmidim each year, then they will no longer want them in the army. This is all it is about nothing more.

“I don’t see any possibility that Shas would remain if we leave the coalition and vice versa but I do see Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu trying his divide and conquer strategy for this is how it works. Regarding Kadima, the party is looking for cabinet appointments. They are looking for a way to oust us, the chareidim.

“I believe that Shas and Yahadut HaTorah will remain. If gedolei hatorah instruct us to leave we will. I see no dispute with Maran Rav Ovadia and Eli Yishai is a welcome guest with the Belze Rebbe or Rav Shteinman. With this I do not see any issue as we are of one opinion here.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. “Punishment”? “Communist Russia”?
    By not accepting that there are any valid reasons on the other side of the issue (shared defense/shared burden, equality before the law, etc.) and framing this move as punishment, it makes finding a solution less likely.
    While there are plenty of anti-religious communists, this is a tad unfair.
    Ironically, if Charedim entered the military then within a few years there won’t be fewer problems. The numbers will speak for themselves as b’nei Torah move up the ranks and enter command positions.

  2. The prime minister of Israel is led by polls. he looks at them the whole time. He always reflects his choices upon the poll of the day. Its no wonder that Chazall said before Moshiach comes the leaders will be like dogs led by a leash, whatever the masses demand they will pursue. Refusing to look back at the history. History states, whoever starts with the jewish religion doesn’t get away with it!

  3. The shmaltz pot of having a Cabinet Ministry is so great, that there is no way anyone would give it up. Wouldn’t it be hypocritical to stay in a government that you disdain? What if the requirement to stay in the Ministry means that you must vote with the government to enlist all of Klal Yisrael and the Arabs?

  4. #3 Shlomo2 – This is being framed as an attack on the primacy of Torah learning. That is the comparison to Russia, etc. (The punishment is referring to the penalties proposed.)
    Whether Chareidim become commanders in the army is largely irrelevant, as the learning of Torah will have been diminished, and therefore the Jews will be in greater jeopardy.

  5. He says: “They simply want to take away their yiddishkheit. If I give my word that I will remove the yarmulke from 1,000 talmidim each year, then they will no longer want them in the army. This is all it is about nothing more.”

    Oh brother, give the rhetoric a rest already! They’re NOT asking you to give up yiddishkeit or remove your yarmulke! They’re asking for you to pitch in with things in a way that you’re not accustomed to. Can I remind everyone that the Mishna says: The world stands on *THREE* things: על התורה, ועל העבודה, ועל גמילות חסדים

  6. #7, Which of those three things is the army? (Oh, and על העבודה means korbonos and tefillah. Work is מלאכה or דרך ארץ)

  7. If there is no Torah, there is no Derech Eretz. And if there is no Derech Eretz, there is no Torah. Perhaps you’ve heard that Mishna before?

    Yes, avodah in that Mishna is commonly taken to refer to the korbanot. And Gemilut Chasadim?? Does that one not apply or did you overlook that one – in the world of logic, that’s called an error of ommission.

    Last I checked Gemilut Chasadim is one of the 3 main pillars of the world… does that not mean anything? National service certainly would fit the bill. Why is there this obsession with ignoring “the other option” of national service by the chareidi tzibur? Why do they insist on focusing only on the army option?

    Lastly, I think it’s frankly sad that the chareidi movement has blown off the seriousness of the army. Yes, Hashem is our protector and our learning is essential to protect us. However, the Tanach never says that we should only sit and learn without also fighting for our survival. Every story of our history shows our forefathers and chachamim actually picking up weapons to defend themselves and the Jewish people. Avraham, Yaakov, Moshe, Yehoshua, David HaMelech, Shlomo HaMelech, Mordechai, The macabim, etc, etc, etc. Yes, we should ALSO have people learning but since when does that mean the entire chareidi tzibur can choose to do so?

    Frankly, if the chareidi tzibur has that much faith that Hashem will protect us through only learning and not bothering to protect ourselves, then lets see them put their money where their mouth is. No more lobbying the government for money to support their cities, yeshivas, mosdos, arnona breaks, etc. No more engaging in cash-only business to avoid taxes (shouldn’t have been working anyway – the learning would have put food on your plate without it). Do I sound angry? Yes, the fact is that Hashem does things through derech hateva (through natural means, NOT miracles). The miracles are the fact that our hishtadlus is successful!! When did that all change in our history?

    Oh, right – everyone now hides behind the idea that “our learning is our part of the fight for our survival” and “we are just backing up our fighting soldiers.” As I’ve said here several times – that rings hollow when the chareidi movement has, for 64 years, bad mouthed the soldiers. How many times in 64 years have they had a yom iyun to support our soldiers? ZERO! How many times in 64 years have they said a mi shebeirach to protect our soldiers? ZERO! How many times have they cancelled the bein hazmanim vacation for the yeshivas in support of our soldiers who were in the middle of an active war? ZERO!

    Spare all of us the sad excuses.