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Not so fast: could right-wing activists cut down on reserve duty? Photo: AP
Not so fast: could right-wing activists cut down on reserve duty? Photo: AP
 
 

Hesder rabbi: 'Cut down on reserve duty'

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, a major figure in religious Zionism, says followers should deduct days from IDF reserve duty as 'compensation' for days spent in jail protesting disengagement

Ilan Marciano
Latest Update: 10.07.05, 12:30 / Israel News

Don't rush to do your reserve duty -  Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, head of the Har Bracha hesder yeshiva in the West Bank, has told followers to deduct days from their IDF reserve duty as a form of 'compensation' for days lost working or studying while protesting the disengagement.

 

Melamed is considered a leading voice for the religious-Zionist community, and this was the second time he has expressed opposition to reserve duty.

 

He is one of two hesder yeshiva (religious seminary in which students combine Torah study with IDF service) rabbis who have been told by the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Security Commission the army would remove the yeshiva's "hesder" status if they do not cease calls to refuse orders.

 

'Don't lose anything'

 

Speaking to Sheva, a newspaper addressed to the religious-Zionist community, Rabbi Melamed explained "there should be an effort made to make sure that all the warriors for the nation and the land don't lose anything personal in their lives."

 

When asked how to regain lost workdays due to time spent at demonstrations and in jail, Melamed said he told a student, "Just as we are commanded to defend the nation and the land through military service, there is also a commandment to demonstrate for the nation and the land.

 

"If you already sat in jail for 15 days, you can consider those days as reserve duty," he said. "In other words, you deduct 15 days from your next military reserve duty. That way you won't lose workdays and you'll feel less bitter. Of course you should do this through the acceptable ways, by saying you are sick."

 

The rabbi continued, "I was then asked by the same person, to comment on the fact that I am paid for my reserve duty, but when I sat in jail I lost workdays. The answer is to try and make a just balance, and if you find that those 15 days during which you were in jail equal 30 days in reserve duty for you, take off 30 days. If you think they are worth 45 days, don't serve 45 days. I was then asked, what if I think that every day spent in jail is worth four days?"

 

"I told him not to exaggerate," said Melamed.

 

First Published: 10.06.05, 23:50

 

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