HISTORIC MEETING OF GEDOLIM: Standing Firm in the Face of Threatened Chareidi Draft



The historic meeting of the Gedolei Hador Shlita, the Moetzas Gedolei Yisrael of Degel Hatorah, Shas and Agudas Yisrael met in Bnei Brak on Monday night, the eve of 25 Adar I 5774. There was much speculation if HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Auerbach Shlita would attend. He was present with the other gedolim.

The rabbonim decided that if the new draft bill is passed into law in its current format, they will convene again at which time they will possibly decide on prohibiting reporting to an IDF induction center. The used the meeting to release a letter explaining the position of the joint Torah Councils, which is representative of all chareidi Jewry in Eretz Yisrael in the hope of the decision-makers getting the message.

HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen Shlita of Shas’ Council was visibly emotional as was reflected in his tone, lamenting the reality facing the lomdei Torah in Eretz Yisrael today, an effort to compel the chareidi tzibur to leave the beis medrash and abandon a lifestyle of an undiluted commitment to limud and the fulfillment of Torah. Rav Cohen, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef began crying as he told his Ashkenazi colleagues that he is particularly fearful for the Sephardi talmidim, who are likely to be more affected by the law than the Ashkenazi litvish and chassidish camps.

The overall position was an firm and tenacious, not apologetic in any way as the rabbonim agreed that there would be no compromise towards abandoning the chareidi way of life.

· The rabbonim are calling on the government to immediately invalidate the decisions made by the Shaked Committee regarding the draft of bnei yeshivos.

· The rabbonim call on bnei yeshivos and kollelim not to enter the IDF under any circumstances and not to be enticed by offers of special accommodations or intimidated by threats of punishment.

· In the event the law is passed, the rabbonim are likely to instruct bnei Torah not to report to any induction center, not even for the preliminary first draft notice as they have done to date but to end any and all cooperation with military authorities.

· The rabbonim call on authorities not to rein back the Torah world but to assist religious institutions in the Holy Land to continue flourishing and to continue in the path of our rabbonim.

It was also decided that the large atzeres tefilla, which is being billed the “Million Man Atzeres”, will be held on Sunday, 7 Adar II 5774. Additional details to be announced.

Unfortunately, it would appear that the persons responsible for getting the word out to the media regarding the historic meeting did not succeed, for media coverage of the historic event, a major national news item, received minimal coverage on Channel 10 News and no more. This was to have been a major media event to send a loud and strong message and plea to the government. Perhaps those responsible will do their due diligence and make amends towards obtaining widespread coverage in the daily newspapers.


(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem / Photos Courtesy of JDN)


  1. A boycott of the army might catch notice. It is a radical departure for the three zionist parties, who until recently encouraged “drop outs” to enlist in a frum framework, and many of whose political leaders have served in the army. It should make it clear to the hilonim that they will encounter serious opposition. That’s enough to mean the army has to worry about the continued loyalty of hareidim already in the military, and has to plan on either being made a fool of (as happened to the American military immediately before the US ended conscription) or needs to plan on mass arrests.

    They need to make counter-proposals. One might to actively demand an end to conscription, or alternatively to allow anyone to claim a religious, moral or conscientious objection from serving (Israel rejects any of this, and the only frum group that would be conscientious objectors under international standards are those who hold that zionism is prohibited by Jewish law, which excludes those who sit in the zionist parliament and accepted money from the government). A proposed Basic Law to end conscription would attract non-hareidi support and meet the hiloni “share the burden” demands as well.

  2. “Unfortunately, it would appear that the persons responsible for getting the word out to the media regarding the historic meeting did not succeed…”

    In Journalism 101 they make it clear that there is supposed to be a distinction between news reporting and editorializing. Unfortunately your unnamed Israel correspondent must’ve been absent that day.

    In any case, how does he know that this was supposed to have been a media event? And did he consider the possibility that the secular media, which has its own agenda, may have their own reasons for downplaying this meeting?

  3. It would be nice to see the signatures at the bottom of the poster above. Unfortunately, it appears to be playing right into Yair Lapid’s hands. You see, Lapid has no interest in seeing the Haredim in the army, all he wants is that they are out of power. His goal with the draft is to continue pushing them further away from the seat of government. It seems that he is winning, because he has radicalized the Haredim, turning the moderate Haredi world into Satmar. Perhaps they will even manage to get the government to back down, although I would be surprised, but it will ensure that they are no where near the seat of power for many years to come.

  4. Chachamhagadol you are wrong. In numbers there is power. If you have the numbers you can get the seats. Radicalizing chareidim is good because once they are back in power they will not compromise on issues of yiddishkeit.

  5. chachamhagadol : Lapid and Bennett believe that once they get most hareidim in the army, they will become “normal.” Bayit Yehudi expects to be the biggest beneficiary, since they assume most hareidi will stay somewhat frum and support them. Remember this is being combined with proposals to require hareidi children to go to zionist schools, to ban non-state rabbanim from giving hechsherim, being involved with weddings, etc. Based on current demographic trends in Bennett and Lapid fail, hareidim will start taking over Israel in another one to two generations. It’s now or never for them. If they can’tg destroy the hareidim, they will be overwhelmed numerically.