IDF Major-General Roni Numa (Res.) stated on Tuesday that there is no need to rush to force Charedim to enlist in the IDF during a conference of the Gesher organization, which strives to bridge the religious gaps in Israeli society by creating a dialogue between various segments of the population.
“Whoever wants to enlist should do so,” Numa said. “If we act responsibly then this crisis will turn us into a smarter society, one that is more connected and more ethical.”
Numa, who was appointed to oversee the lockdown of Bnei Brak and assist the residents during the coronavirus crisis, added: “There was a major lack of trust between the IDF and the Charedim in Bnei Brak. The turning point came during the preparations for Pesach. I felt that the government needed to understand that [Bnei Brak] is a different city than other cities and it has different needs.”
“There were not only a lot of sick people, but there were a large number of active organizations. In order to gather all of the chametz from all of the apartments without causing a large gathering of people like every other year, we all needed to trust one another. It was a logistical operation that completely took over. The residents didn’t believe that we could do it and the soldiers didn’t quite understand everything that was required. When they understood that we were simply coming to help, that is when things began to change.”
Numa said that he hoped that the Charedi society learned something from the crisis. “I want to believe that Charedi society learned something and is more open today than they were before. Yes, we need to speak about the future, even if it is guarded. The future will depend on how we act now. If we patronize and say ‘I told you so,’ then this will cause the Charedi public to clam up once again. If there is mutual understanding and mutual effort from all sides, then each one can learn from the other and be open to growth, then we will become stronger as a society. Charedim want to be a part of society. I wouldn’t rush to go an enlist them all. Whoever wants to enlist should do so.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)