Bennett & Lapid Seek to Reassure the Chareidi Torah World


Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid posted a message on his Facebook page pertaining to chareidi fears that he wishes to destroy yeshivos. “The chareidi parties are spreading rumors that I am plotting to harm the Torah community. This is utter nonsense. I have been calling to study Tanach my entire life. In my eyes, the study of Torah is a component of Israel’s existence. There are two rabbonim among the party’s MKs. Those who have dedicated their lives to the study of Torah are praiseworthy. I feel the study of Talmud should be part of the public school curriculum for the non-frum.”

Mr. Lapid continues. “Torah study however cannot be a solution for an eight-year-old who does not learn math and English. 18-year-olds are not serving their homeland and 28-year-olds are not earning a livelihood. King David was a warrior and the Rambam learned secular subject matter. The Rambam and Rashi both worked. Are chareidi parties

Lapid’s comments are in response to statements primarily from chareidi MKs, who fear the agreement between Yesh Atid and Bayit HaYehudi, will spell devastation for the chareidi tzibur at large.”

Mr. Lapid continues, “fulfilling one’s basic responsibilities is not contradictory to the study of Torah, i.e. sharing the burden and working to earn a living. Not everyone merits studying but learning cannot be a response for each individual who does not fulfill his obligations to the state, his family and the society in which he lives.”

“In addition, there are 70 faces to Torah so don’t let anyone tell you his way is the only way of the G-d of Israel.”

Joined in his effort to calm the chareidim, Bayit HaYehudi leader Mr. Naftali Bennett released his statement on the matter of Torah study. Bennett was addressing an assembly of directors of dati leumi mosdos. “There are stories that we are planning to destroy the Torah world. I am telling you in uncertain terms that we will not only concern ourselves with the dati leumi Torah world, but the entire Torah world. We are not going to do harm.”

“Torah study is a national interest for the State of Israel. The chareidim are our brothers, not the enemy but the current situation may not be permitted to continue. One learning Torah will continue. One who is not will serve and integrate into Israeli society. In Israel’s history there has never been a disconnect between limud Torah and working.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Then all they have to do is drop the idea of throwing people in jail because they refuse to go to the army. With that, service becomes voluntary and the army becomes increasingly professionalized. Hareidim who want to be baal ha-battim can work “on the books” without getting drafted. Instead of the army putting up with hareidim due to political coercion, they will compete for hareidim by offering accomodation of hareidi lifestyles. Indeed, once the army is a volunteer/professional army, even the objections to women largely disappear (at least to the extent that they do for any outside the community employment). However Lapid’s plan would include prison or fines (not just loss of stipends, which many hareidim refuse to accept).

    Lapid and Bennett need to respect the idea that either because they consider learning to be more “sherut hovah”, or because they regard the medinah as existing outside of halacha, or because they don’t want to put up with working in a non-frum environment – there will be many hareidim who will refuse to serve in the army – and that the State of Israel, following the lead of most western countries, should exempt such persons from military service with no penalties.

  2. I would love to see this exchange:
    We send 3,000 a year to the army, and they send 5,000 a year to spend 1 year in Yeshiva.

    Wouldn’t that be great?

  3. they never said that people will be thrown into jail. all sanctions will be economic. please listen to – and read the Israeli media before you start your diatribe. we all know that not everyone is learning. we all know that this istuation is not sutainable economically. they just want thme to get a job. in fact the IDF filed a lwasuit stating that they DONT want or need the charedim in the military. The bottom line is when they cut the child allowances, they will have to get jobs. a 1/3 of the country cant support two thirds. most charedim in america work. the ardent anti working anti state of israel/ moochers dont work in america either.

  4. we are all brothers says: go and live on what the medina gives for child allowance. Years ago it might and repeat might be possible but today it is not. You go and live on just bread for breakfast and supper. And then come back saying about how much kollel men are making.. Also I have an idea send all 18 year olds to a yeshiva for 18 months before military service.

  5. #6 – They have constantly been threatening to throw people in jail. That is what punishment means. If all they did was to threaten to cut off the per capita money paid to yeshivos, it would not be such a serious crisis, since most students would continue to learn (note that in most countries, yeshiva students learn very well without a government stipend). Lapid’s demand is that all men and women serve in the army. If he agreed that anyone refusing to serve in the army on religious grounds would be exempt – there wouldn’t be a crisis.

    If they want more hareidim to work (meaning work “on the books” other than in the yeshiva industry, which is probably a major business in Israel given the massive number of foreign students spending about $20K per student per year – that adds up), they should abolish conscription and probably most of the yeshiva students over the age of 21 would start looking for jobs. In the USA, getting a job does not require spending three years with a hostile employer eating food of dubious kashruth in a work environment whose hostility would warrant summary judgement in a religious discrimination case. As it is, there is strong evidence that most older hareidim who are officially learning are actually gainfully employed (either as teachers or in the grey economy).

    Whether Israel’s “child allowances” and other European style welfare policies are a good idea has nothing to do with the issue of conscription. Arguably Israel is providing first world benefits with a third world economy – similar to Greece,and see where it got them. Many would argue that a high level of social benefits takes away the incentive to work (e.g. unemployment insurance causes prolonged unemployment) – especially among frum Jews who prefer Torah and Mitsvos rather than the rich material life that most hilonim prefer.

    SUMMARY: The crisis is that under the Lapid plan all hareidim and hareidiot would have to choose betwen prison or the army. It’s not about money.

  6. To sum it up: Oey Vey!

    Commentor #1 hit it on the head.

    If Lapid is so concerned for Limud Hatorah, why is he still sticking to the 400 cap allowance of Bnei Torah?! Lapid & Bennett did NOT reassure the Torah World one iota! They only reinforced their dangerous utopia of basically destroying the way a Torah Jew (going back thousands of years)should live & learn!
    Stay away from Lapid! He is extremely dangerous to Torah’s existance! He will crumble and fall away just like his wicked Father! Mark my words, in a few months Lapid will be a nothing, an after thought! Nebach!

  7. #4 – In the D”L camp alone there are far, far more than 5,000 yeshiva bochurs at any given time who learn for far more than 1 year. And there are a great many chilonim who spend time learning torah (although they don’t do it in yeshivot – where they are not welcome, as you no doubt know). All that is lacking for the exchange that you are so eager for is that you send your 3,000 charedi yeshiva bochurs to the army already.

  8. OMG, here it goes again, prison & jail terms and professional army ideas. Can you imagine Moshe asking for a professional army as we conquer Eretz Yisroel? Remember the lashing received by 2 1/2 shetevim who wanted to stay back and care for their flock (parnassah, learning)instead.

    #4 Heard this from MK Gafne already. “Share the burden means when the rest of the nation starts learning Torah and then we will commit to an equal amount to armyservice”. Problem with that is that a majority of the nation DOES study Torah texts whether its ain yaakov, mishnaos, nach and sefrei historia. So now do the count?

  9. All Lapid has to do is say “Anyone who objects to serving in the military for reasons of religion, morality or conscience will be exempt”. Israel will never again throw someone in prison for refusal to serve in the military. It solves all the problems with Hareidim and the workplace. It conforms to international human rights laws.

  10. A shoe maker knows more and better than a president when it comes to making shoes and so on in every trade,
    the distruction comes when a husband wants to give birth and the wife wants to be a car mechanic,
    Who is to understand and advice how – who – when and where torah should be respected and studied, is it one who has no knowledge in torah and in religion, ???
    We all know something you don’t practice and have no experience don’t give your opinion.

  11. #13 – Almost all countries have professional armies. Modern warfare requires highly motivated, skilled soldiers. Remember that even the most simple weapons now are at least in part being computerized. There is no longer a need for short term amateurs and it isn’t enough to say we need “canon fodder” since that isn’t how wars are fought in the 21st century.

    If Israel wants hareidi soldiers, there is no reason a professional army can’t recruit them. For all the baal ha-battim, the pay and benefits would be attractive as long as the army accomodates being frum without a hassle.

    And it solves the problem of yeshiva needing to stay in yeshiva to avoid conscription rather than “working” officially, and it solves the problems of anti-zionists (e.g. Satmar) who really are conscientious objectors but say they are learning since Israel doesn’t believe in conscientious objection since they can’t admit to the possibility that support of the medinah is not a mitzvah.

  12. #13 – For a plethora of reasons, which you clearly could not care less about, Israel will not turn the IDF into a professional army.

    More importantly: the general charedi population in Israel (those who identify with the Aguda, Degel, Shas, Tov, Pai etc.) do not claim that they SHOULD NOT serve the country but rather that (1) That they ARE serving the country through limud torah and (2) That they CANNOT serve in the MILITARY for practical reasons, namely because the atmosphere there is (so they are told and believe) inimical to shmirat torah umitzvot. The disagreement beteen them and the rest of Israeli Jews is then only on HOW they should serve, and by who and how should that be decided. This is, at the end of the day a debate between brothers, which can be solved.

    The machloket with the small group of anti-Zionist charedim who live in Israel is a different one altogether. The views you regularly espouse indicate that you have sympathy for the anti-Zionist stance and it is not surprising that you seek a resolution of the ‘share the burden’ debate that would serve that camp’s views (short, perhaps, of their demand that the State of Israel dissolve itself and hand soverienity over to the Arabs). That, however, is hardly a priority for Israeli Jews who rarely concern themselves with the anti-Zionist minority.

    But – and this is what motivated me to respond to your post – it is clearly possible that the resolution that will be reached on the ‘share the burden’ issue will be intolerable to the anti-Zionist minority, who are opposed to serving Israel in any way and to any degree (even more so than most Israeli arabs). Which will then raise interesting questions which will need to be addressed. But that is ‘chazon lamoed’. The resolution of the debate on how the general charedi population should serve will not be resolved with an eye to pleasing the anti-caredi minority who refuse to serve at all.

  13. the bottom line is the charedim are forced into poverty due to the stigma of working. thi smust change. akuperma, it is untrue what you state that they will be thrown into jail. they are only thretining economic sanctions. in fact Yossi Beilin (the arch leftist) wants to amend the law that allows religious girls not to serve, to allow ALL religious to not serve. you are an excellent writer. howver you need a fact checker. perhaps a reality check too. the charedim need JOBS. after they start enntering the workforce, places will adapt to employing them. similiar to the US. They get used to the early fridays/ no handhshake with opposit gender, etc. the Israelis will get used to adapting too. Plesase be honest. Most importantly be honest with yourself first.

  14. #17 – RE: “small group of anti-Zionist charedim who live in Israel” — it’s not clear how small it is. Ask how many refuse to accept government stipends for being in yeshiva? Ask how many don’t say hallel (or otherwise observe a holiday) on the 5th of Iyar (Yom ha-Atzmaut)? Ask how many consider be told that something has “Rabanut kashrut” to be a warning rather than a reassurance? The first two are definitely anti-zionist, and probably the third. I suspect this is not a small number (perhaps a fifth of the Hareidi population).

    IF, and only if, the army tries to arrest people for refusing to report, either since they are anti-zionist (as in the above paragraph), or asset that since they are learning full time they can ignore the army, or becaus they hold that women can’t serve in the army — then the number of Hareidim being anti-zionist will soar.

    Assuming Israel is about 10% hareidi, there are at least a half million hareidim of all flavors, and in 10% of those resist the government, it will lead to “tohu v’vohu”.

  15. maybe 10% are charedi. approx 1/2 are female. a fraction of that is draft age. everyone currently learning is exempt from the new proposed initiatives. not saying hallel is not an indicator of nottaking money. they ALL take money. a few mosdos dont take money. please chek your facts. they will only enforce economic sanctions and they wornt be able to leave the country as long as they are army eligible. makes sense to most people. (including Moreinu Horav Shteinman SHLITA)

  16. paying soldiers is more expensive than the 700 nis an avreich gets monthly from the gov.
    this is an ideological war against torah, nothing more or less

  17. You should look at his platform. Lapid’s proposal includes drafting women and virtually all men. I’ld suspect the virtually all hareidiot will refuse conscription. You are acting as if Lapid said to cut off yeshiva benefits to non-veterans, while offering to allow hareidi yeshivos to set up hesder programs and keep benefits. He is offering no such thing. He is clearly saying “serve in the army” or “go to jail”.

    I’m suggest that not saying hallel probably correlates with likely to refuse a draft order. Being associated with an yeshiva that turns down government money makes it almost certain you will resist. Not accept government kashrtuh make it likely you’ll resist, and certain you’ll be a trouble maker once you get drafted.

    Under international law, persecuting people who refuse to serve in the military for religious reasons will be considered a crime. Right to travel is considered to be a basic human right. The army has already arrested frum people for failing to the do the right paperwork, and Lapid has made it clear that he assume anyone drafted (in his plan ALL yeshiva boys except for 400 “chosen ones”, and all females) will report or be punished in accordance with Israeli law – which include prison.

    If the Israeli were to continue giving child allowances, cheap or free health care, etc., to Palestian Muslim who support Hamas, but not to Hareidi Jews, they would look very silly – and it would support the view they are engaging in religious persecution. The government is under no obligation to subsidize yeshivos, and can easily target benefits to veterans, soldiers and their families. But deny basic “social security” on political or religious grounds is very dubious.

  18. akuperma: You continue in every comment of yours to commit errors of commission as well as errors of omission. I don’t even particularly like Lapid but I must say, you keep insisting that he says things that he does not! His platform (as is the platform of other groups here) is that everyone should help out. He does NOT say that everyone (even women) must serve in the army. I don’t know of even one of the MKs who say that. Instead, they have ALL made it clear that there should be a choice of army or a sheirut leumi program. This is not a subtle omission that you make each and every time that it’s convenient for your argument. Women can safely serve in a chesed program of one sort or another. The sheirut leumi programs here are quite extensive and wonderful but you are too blinded to admit that the evil zionist empire could ever do something good.

    The sheirut leumi programs include things that range from working in a gan with special needs children, working with terminally ill and/or cancer patients, working with orphans, working with the elderly, working with the poor, working with the rescue services, the list just goes on and on. I remember the day we met with the Misrad HaKlita (Ministry of Absorption) just after we made Aliyah – the wonderful staff welcomed us to the country and provided us with unbelievable benefits (money, language classes, etc) and advice to get ourselves set up in our new country. These wonderful staff members were mostly sheirut leumi people who took the time to help us in a most unbeauracratic, kind way. This is something that anyone can do, “even a chareidi young woman or man.”

    I say “even” not to insult chareidim but rather to point out that you have (deliberately?) changed the truth in your rush to condemn everything zionist. You have clearly expressed your wish to continue the unsustainable status quo by yanking at everyone’s heart strings – you present these rediculous dooms day predictions that all of the sweet chareidi girls and yeshiva boys are going to be either jailed or marched off to the army barracks and thrown into war. By the way, did you know that a good number of jobs in the army do NOT include being in a fighting unit? There are the medical units, intelligence, engineering, communications, etc. Most “soldiers” come out of the army with excellent hands-on training and skills! Things that they can actually use to get themselves a better job afterwards. Same thing with the sheirut leumi programs – they provide unbelievable training that benefit everyone for the rest of their lives. This can actually help the poverty situation of many chareidi families.

    At the end of the day, you don’t have to agree with everything these politicians are saying but stop being so adamant that everything they do is evil. In doing so, you really make yourself out to be a hateful person with rediculous dooms day predictions. Oh, and just to remind everyone, you don’t need to “close down all of the yeshivas” because no one is calling for that except for the dooms day guys who have an agenda by saying it.