Satmar Rebbe Shlita: Draft Demands Mesirus Nefesh


zIt was a full house at the Satmar dinner in Kiryas Yoel to pay tribute to its mosdos. The event was held on motzei Shabbos Parshas Shemos 5774 in the hall of the talmid torah. During the event several announcements were made, including the news that the new girl’s school is almost complete and that a new chasenah hall and mikve are going to be constructed.

The Rebbe Rav Zalman Leib Shlita spoke out harshly against WhatsApp groups, citing the foul language and utter nonsense that is transmitted from one to another while senders and recipients wait in anticipation. He warned that being a member of such a group results in one’s “regesh Yehudi” being wiped out. The rebbe added that using such a program is synonymous with וילכו אחר ההבל ויהבלו.

After addressing the prohibited technology the rebbe began to discuss the planned draft of bnei yeshivos in Israel. He quoted the Rebbe Vayoel Moshe ZT”L ZY”A, who stated the day would come when a chareidi Jew will not be able to live in Israel. “At that time it appeared he words were an exaggeration, especially over the years in which chareidi political parties were part of the government and served as ministers.”

The rebbe added that even those chareidim who sat in the governments over the years are now in agreement and refer to the current administration as “shmad”. The rebbe feels that if the “compromise” of Nachal Chareidi was not reached a decade ago, today, “the government would not dare” to attempt to draft bnei yeshivos, comparing the situation to Pharaoh and his tactics of בפה רך to entrap the Jews into slavery, citing how they first received payment for their labors and eventually they were enslaved. “This is the way of the wicked in Eretz HaKodesh, first pulling the chareidim into the government, paying money to yeshivos and kollelim, and now, they plan to take the chareidi youths into the military which represents the biggest betrayal in Malchus Shomayim there is”.

The rebbe feels the government will be tenacious in enforcing the new law and he fears for the bnei Torah community regarding the future in Eretz Yisrael, pointing out some bnei Torah were already jailed for non compliance regarding induction orders. The rebbe adds one must be moser nefesh in this case and there is no other alternative.

The rebbe then spoke of a planned trip to the United States by leaders in Eretz Yisrael, referring to admorim affiliated with the Moetzas Gedolei Yisrael of Agudas Yisrael. He feels there can be great benefit to such an initiative, adding לך כנוס את כל היהודים to permit the admorim to explain the dangers and the need for mesirus nefesh. He feels a gathering of thousands will lend strength to the battle and signal a sign of leadership, adding it might be time to call for chareidim around the world to take to the streets against the draft effort.

The rebbe however points out a contradiction, questioning how the admorim can protest against a government in front of the non-Jews when they themselves are part of the system. He questions how they can be part of protests in front of the goyim when they are part of the process. The rebbe asks why a goy would feel a chareidi should have different responsibilities than a non-frum citizen regarding military service when they are in Knesset, receive government funding for mosdos and benefit from state assistance. “This is in essence what the government is asking of the chareidim, to accept an equal share of the burden.”

The “erliche Yidden” adds the rebbe, those who do not accept any government funding can protest and the non-Jews get it since they are not looking to the government to support them. Their position is understood but how can one expect the non-Jewish community to understand the plight of the chareidim who sit in Knesset and accept state funding?

“The time has come for cheshbon nefesh regarding acceptance of government funding for this is the cause of all the gezeiros” added the rebbe. “This is what leads to the hate of religion and the demands to change the curriculum and so forth” he added.

The rebbe then relayed that a senior official from Chinuch Atzmai in Eretz Yisrael recently visited him, and that person explained how difficult things are becoming by the day. The shaliach explained to the rebbe that some schools have already buckled under pressure and accepted changes in their curriculum, changes that would lead to talmidim serving in the IDF for they would no longer see anything wrong with such a move.

The rebbe asked why Chinuch Atzmai doesn’t refuse state funding and fund mosdos by reaching out to the wealthy chareidim around the world instead of being tied to the budgets received from the state. The rebbe explained the money does exist and it is possible. The official admitted it is doable, albeit difficult.

The rebbe concluded that things being what they are, and in light of the fact such choshuva admorim will be making this trip, the tzibur is compelled to step forward and do what it can to assist in this hour of need.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. “The “erliche Yidden” adds the rebbe, those who do not accept any government funding can protest and the non-Jews get it since they are not looking to the government to support them. Their position is understood but how can one expect the non-Jewish community to understand the plight of the chareidim who sit in Knesset and accept state funding?”

    Well the answer to that is that the Torah is the ONLY way to protect Klal Yisroel.

    And I think regardless of not taking funding, any non-Jew would question how do you not contribute to the fight against enemies that are threatening us. The only answer is the spiritual protection dimension, which we believe in and can’t be ashamed to talk about.

  2. Taking and receiving government funds have nothing to do with compliancy with government policies. The Satmar Rebbe is viewing the situation as if the Charedi kehillos of Eretz Yisroel are a homogenous group, which they are not!! Just like there was a need for Nachal Charedi & Shachar to develop, there are chadarim they are planning to teach Math, English and Science (as they do in all schools outside of Kiryat Yoel)

    If a resident is a citizen of a country, then there are obligations to pay taxes and to observe rules & regulations. Receiving $$$$ is not the determining factor.

  3. The goyim’s have a phrase “you are part of the problem, or you are part of the solution.” If one is accepting zionist money, you are part of the problem.

    One can’t be a pro-war zionist dependent on government funding and not look silly saying “oh, but my son is too hashuv to be in the army – but your son, he should go.” Satmar doesn’t have that problem. If the government recognizes them as conscientious objectors and exampts them, it will turn off the loudest protests – and force all other frum Jews to accep that they have to decide between being hareidi or being zionists, and to stop the hypocracy of trying to be both.

  4. When the good rebbe makes peace with his brother, which is causing machlokes among families, when he takes his case out of Arkaos shel Akum ( secular courts) then he can talk. Until then, everything and anything he says is non-listenable.

  5. Pthe rebbe is right about one thing
    The jews and non jews wil have no sympathy for the chareidim on this issue
    In fact do you really think the goyim even care about who serves in the army in another country
    The only people that care are the people the issue affects

  6. #11 That has been the shita of Gedolim of the past, if you are not in Yeshiva for 3 sederim then go and serve the JEWISH people.

    BECAUSE of the outright ignoring of this shita, we find ourself in this situation presently…

  7. @12 You are dead wrong. I don’t know where you get your facts from but if you were chareidi you would know that the shita of Gedolim has always been for chareidim not to go to the army even if they’re not in yeshiva and indeed hardly any chareidi ever went to the army. Some Gedolim today do not have the strength to fight for this shita so they’re willing to compromise.

  8. #13 Halevai! That wouldn’t be a problem and neither would it be a problem if only the military is chareidi as we wouldn’t have to worry about boys coming out of the army secularized which is the only reason that Gedolim are not ready to send their boys out to the army.

    Everyone does serve in one capacity or another: chareidim by learning Torah and doing mitzvos the best protection and the secular with arms.

  9. Satmar is Satmar, will be Satmar, thinks like Satmar and acts like Satmar.

    They are Satmar oriented and challenged to understand the rest of the Charedi World (especially the non-chassidim).

  10. #14 Don’t know where your facts are from.

    Rav Schwartzman Zt”l advised my uncle to join the IDF after he finished learning and so did Reb Chaim Shmulevitz zt”l. Perhaps you are too young to be aware of the ‘facts on the ground’.

    “hardly any chareidi ever went to the army” – Is this from MK Eichler the journalist???

  11. RING #14—Indeed it’s YOU who’s dead wrong. The shitah was for those not learning full-time to join the IDF. Please stop spreading untruths here.

  12. @ 4: the arabs are also paying taxes but are not being drafted into the army. So your argument that funding for Yshivas is a separate issue then Army is not so right.

    Kudos to the Satmar Rabbe for alerting the Whatsapp problem, I respect him for being so aware for what’s going on by Klal Yisroel.

  13. Just curious, when they first printed this story it included a picture of Reb Aaron, now it includes Reb Zalman Leib. Mr Kornbleu please make up your mind?

    Moderators Response: Kornbluh? What shayichis?

  14. Dear Moderator; I was under the assumption that Mr Kornbluh is one of your writers?

    Moderators Response: Kornbluh is a freelance writer, and any article written by him clearly has his name there.

  15. Reply to #2 if we believe spiritual protection is enough, why then do we have shomrim and hatzalah?

    Besides, imagine if the US government had a draft and we told them that we fulfill our share of the burden by learning Torah. The Israeli government is secular and isn’t interested in any spiritual protection.

    The fact is a very large portion of the chareidim don’t pay taxes (as they don’t work), receive financial assistance and don’t serve in the army. This would be enough to create sinah towards us even if the chilonim didn’t hate us on ideological grounds.

    Therefore, it stands to reason, if you take money from the state, you shouldn’t protest, since this would only create more sinah towards the chareidim.