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'Not draft dodgers'
Yeshiva students: Don't think we need to enlist
Students at prestigious Hebron yeshiva discuss their views on possible draft law, say they appreciate those who enlist but believe haredim do their part on 'higher level'
Netanyahu, Mofaz and Plesner, the suckers, the national religious – they're all talking, all making suggestions and offering solutions, looking for the "right" method to draft haredim into the military, but the haredim? They aren't interested.

 

A rare visit to the Hebron Yeshiva in Jerusalem – one of the most prestigious haredi yeshivas – reveals that the students are not very troubled by the Sword of Damocles hanging over them. They just want to present their stance and wonder how it "will all work out in the end."

 

'It's certainly possible that the public will want the haredi public to enlist, but we don't think we need to enlist or that we will enlist," says yeshiva student Shmuel Degani.

 

"We are very appreciative of those who enlist and of what they do, we 'get' them and love them, but we would like them to try and understand that there's a good population here that carries out endless acts of charity, tries to have a positive influence and yet is only ever thought of for one thing – lack of military service.

 

"This (haredi) public that has Hasdei Naomi (charity for indignant children), Yad Sarah, Hatzolah – consider for a moment whether that kind of public is 'worthy' of the title of parasite or perhaps behind it all there are values and principles."

 

Another yeshiva student, Yossi Yalon said: "We need to create dialogue. Honestly, we really do appreciate those who give their lives to protect us and our families, but we also do our part, maybe on an even higher level, with true faith that the Torah protects the land (of Israel)."

 

Meanwhile, it would seem that the yeshiva students' stance on the matter is not going to be accepted, and the public struggle for a general draft continues.

 

In response, the Eda Haredit, an extremist haredi faction in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood, has decided that next week it will  hold a "children's protest" against the in-the-works draft bill.

 

Eda Haredit activists met and decided that 2,000 children would protest in Jerusalem next Monday – all handcuffed to each other as a protest against plans to draft haredim into the military and the national service.

 

At the same time, haredi officials are also trying to organize a "million man protest," as they call it, where all haredi factions would join together to demonstrate, but as yet the plans have not materialized.

 

 

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