The Message from the Moetzas Gedolei Hatorah


_____It appears that following the session of the Moetzas Gedolei Yisrael of Agudas Yisrael on Monday, 13 Teves 5774 leading admorim shlita are off to spread the message around the world.

The Erlau Rebbe Shlita did not participate due to his ailing health. The Vishnitzer Rebbe Shlita participated by phone from England.

Meeting separately in Bnei Brak was the Moetzas Gedolei Hatorah of Degel Yisrael, joined by over 100 prominent litvish rabbonim and roshei yeshiva shlita. The two bodies of gedolim shlita released a message “the government does not have the right to compel lomdei Torah to serve in the IDF”.

The admorim affiliated with Agudas Yisrael decided to travel around the world to spread their message as the Shaked Committee if finalizing its version of the draft law, which is scheduled to soon be voted upon in Knesset. The admorim will explain the dire situation of the chareidi tzibur in Eretz Yisrael, the result of the policies of the current administration. This includes cuts in funding for yeshivos and the planned draft of chareidim into the IDF and national service programs.

The admorim made an appeal to government leaders to back down before it is too late, using the morning chareidi newspapers and electronic media to spread their message. It is expected that a number of the admorim will be traveling to the United States and Europe.

The combined message of the litvish and chassidish rabbonim shlita is

“.כי לא יטוש ה׳ עמו ונחלתו לא יעזוב”


(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. “the government does not have the right to compel lomdei Torah to serve in the IDF”

    Nor do chareidim have the right to compel others to serve in the IDF in their place.

  2. takahmamash: We Chareidim never asked you Zionists to create your State in the first-place. We lived in Eretz Yisroel before the Zionists (we’ve been living here since the 18th and 19th centuries – before your people were even thinking of Uganada) and we opposed your State from the outset.

    So do whatever you want with your idf. Just don’t count us in it.

  3. One wonders: If the situation is indeed so dire, could these two august councils not have brought themselves together just this once to address the issue in a united manner?

    Taken at face value, if the government does not have the right to compel service, what does it have the right to do? Levy taxes? enforce traffic laws? building codes? health and safety standards? see to child protection enforcement? What is the legal, logical and halachic basis to assume no right of compulsion for some government policies, but yes for others? Maybe no government law or policy is enforceable if the subject is learning in a yeshiva. Do those who follow these gedolim get a pass on the issues above too?

    If the answer to all this is yes, a free pass, why would any government anywhere concede to such clear secession from its social contract? Would those who made the pronouncement maintain in the machaneh a significant minority who refused by their own conscience or interpretation of halocho a fundamental psak by the moetzes? So why is it ok for the state but not within the machne??

  4. 1. The cuts in funding are a separate issue. There is no halachic argument that requires goyim to fund limudei kodesh, and it is probably better that they don’t (which why those hareidim who tremble in fear of HaShem don’t accept zionist money).

    2. Being pro-war but in favor of conscription of others is very hypocritical. This suggests that the frum parties should be advocating abolition of conscription, or considering whether to adopt the hareidi (i.e. Eidah Hareidis, Satmar, etc.) position of being neutral or opposed to the Israeli war against the Arabs – with the implication of being willing to consider whether they would be better off in a Muslim dominated post-zionist state (that bans conscription).

    An alleged hareidi has no right to tell another person: “go conquer the West Bank while I learn in Bnei Brak” — but he does have a right to say “you want to have a medinah and rule the Arabs, which we objected to and continue to object to, so don’t ask me to fight for your medinah since it isn’t my medinah” — of course the latter position is treason from a zionist perspective, but it results in hareidim being conscientious objectors as defined in most countries.

    3. Note that they held that those learning should not be required to serve in the IDF. That leaves open the option of allowing Bnei Torah to volunteer in frum units (but probably frummer than existing ones), and allows encouragement of those who stop learning to serve in the IDF. Anti-zionist hareidim who hold that the war and the medinah are contrary to halacha would argue that no one should be required to serve in the IDF, even if they aren’t learning Torah at all.

  5. BenTorah, I think you’re confusing two different issues. Please tell us: Would you oppose army service for chareidim if the British or Turkish still ran the government?

  6. 1. The cuts in funding are a separate issue. There is no halachic argument that requires goyim to fund limudei kodesh, and it is probably better that they don’t (which why those hareidim who tremble in fear of HaShem don’t accept zionist money).

    Which is totally LOL!!!! Charaidim who actually Charad 🙂

    Also, do they not accept health care funding?

  7. we are all mixing up the issue, if the zionist right to Israel is based on the Jew’s right to its land then they must concede that Torah learning is part of the Jewish tradition and the Torah is the ultimate protection of the land. If they interfere with Torah learning they are interfering with the upholders of the Torah and the Jewish people. This was recognized by the founders of the medina and should continue.

  8. “Also, do they not accept health care funding?”

    Are they subject to national taxes that go into the treasury that funds health care? If so, they are entitled to it even if they oppose the state, unless they are exempted from the taxation.

  9. “Charedi community could alleviate some issues if they served in some sort of public service.”

    They do perform public service. Limud Torah. The greatest public service of them all.

    We should draft 10% of chilonim into full time yeshiva study.

  10. “of being willing to consider whether they would be better off in a Muslim dominated post-zionist state (that bans conscription)”.

    NOW that ABBAS, himself has declared any of the future Palestinian State (which includes Beitar, Kiryat Sefer, Ramat Shlomo, Nvei Yakov, Pisgat Zev, Givat Zev, Sanhedria, Ramot, Ramot Eshkol–just a few of Charedi enclaves) will be WITHOUT JEWS, where exactly is the Muslim dominated post-Zionist state? You have to deal with the reality of 2013, not with fantasy or ‘could-be’.

  11. Keeves: When the Turks tried to conscript people they ran into serious opposition (and in the end, it turned out that among Jews and Arabs in Eretz Yisrael, most ended up serving for the Allies). People who don’t see the government as “their’s” tend to be very bad conscripts.

    The British never tried conscripting colonials – ever. The reason is obvious. In general the British disliked conscription though they did use it in the two world wars, but only in the home territory. Whether you believe that carrying a rifle or peeling potatoes for the Brits was more worthwhile than learning Torah is obviously a question of faith (i.e. the great debate between those who held that Hitler lost because the Americans and Soviets defeated the Nazis in spite of the diety ignoring what was happening – versus those of us who credit Ha-Shem with defeating the Nazis, and attribute our survival to those who stuck with Torah and Mitsvos inspite of the Nazis).

    If someone is hareidi (in the sense of Eidah hareidis/Satmar) the correct analogy would not be to service in the British or Turkish armies, but rather to service on behalf of the axis in World War II — if you hold the conquest of Eretz Yisrael at this time is against halacha, there is no heter to schecht Arabs and take their land by force.

  12. bklynmom: That’s why one needs to negotiate. The Palestinians are obviously concerned about giving up their claims to the territory within the 1949-1967 borders, while not getting the Israelis to withdraw from the territory conquered in 1967. If given the choice of giving up Torah or giving up a medinah, almost all hareidim will stick with Torah and will negotiate for a return to the status quo ante (one state, with an autonomous hareidi community). This is why the zionists have a reason not to force that decision to be made, since if 10% (or more) of the Jewish population changes side it would undermine Israel internationally. So you should remember that in demanding the hareidim become “modern orthodox”, you may be signing the death warrant for the medinah.

  13. gavra_at_work: It won’t have any financial effect on Satmar, Brisk, Eidah Chareidis, etc. If there are criminal sanctions, as Shaked is currently proposing, technically even the anti-Zionists who don’t take government funding could be arrested. But if the government tried to pull that off, they would find themselves mired in nationwide crippling strikes.

  14. gavra at work: 1) If “welfare state” benefits are tied to army service it would adversely affect even Satmar, but it would also affect anyone who doesn’t serve in the army, and the Israeli courts have been wary of allowing ties of welfare programs to army service as that would be a vehicle of discrimination against a large part of Israeli society (e.g.Palestinian Muslims). 2) They could attack anti-zionist organization by taking away tax exemptions and a “tax” transfers from overseas as this is already under consideration, but will raise objections from many human rights groups. 3)The other financial measures won’t directly impact on yeshivos that don’t accept government money, but the macroeconomic impact of the funding cuts will seriously hurt the frum community’s economy (and is probably already affecting the Israeli economy).

  15. BT: Thye are not going to have mass arrests. Even they realize it can only hurt their cause.

    I don’t see why Satmar is having these protests. B’shlama Gur, Belz, etc. who are affected would want to protest (whether it is worth leaving Bais Medresh to protest is a completely different question. Rav Shteinman Paskened not.) I don’t see why Satmar would feel the need to protest?

  16. #19 Satmar is looking to become the ‘head honchos’ in the American Torah world. The rebbes go to visit all the yeshivos and kehillos and raise $$ for their world-wide empire.

    The need to protest gives you POWER and power is what they want!!

  17. A pleasure reading Ben Torah’s posts. Thank you for being the chareidi speaker with confidence.

    #19 While the US is the police of the world, Satmar is the police of the chareidim in Israel and of the world over. It’s part of their inborn chessed trait.

  18. gavra_at_work: In support of the Torah world outside of Satmar. And in opposition to the actions of the Israeli government (even if it wouldn’t hurt Satmar but would hurt others.)