As war surges, Haredi Jews begin enlisting en masse

The Tel Hashomer recruitment center has initiated the conscription process for 120 recruits from the ultra-Orthodox sector amid a surge of applications; These recruits will be designated as reservists, undergo basic training, and serve in various roles such as medical services and drivers

Roy Rubinstein|
At the Tel Hashomer recruitment center, the first batch of 120 soldiers from the ultra-Orthodox sector began their recruitment on Sunday, amid a surge of applications from thousands of ultra-Orthodox individuals eager to contribute to the war effort. These recruits will be designated as reservists right from the beginning and will undergo a two-week basic training program.
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Afterward, they will be assigned to various essential roles such as medical services and drivers. Some of them already possess experience in rescue and emergency medicine, which will enable them to swiftly integrate as combat supporters in this campaign.
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Haredi Jews at the recruitment center
Haredi Jews at the recruitment center
Haredi Jews at the recruitment center
(Photo: Moti Kimhi)
Among those who arrived Monday morning, was Itzik, a 40-year-old resident of Bnei Brak and a father of six. In an interview on Ynet Live, he shared that he works as a social worker and has always felt the urge to "be part of this system," referring to the army. He explained that, since the war broke out, he has been actively trying to help and assist, but felt the need to do more. When he learned about the option to enlist, he decided to seize the opportunity, saying: "Well, let's go for it."
When asked about his wife's thoughts on his decision, he said that she was already aware of his desire to fulfill some form of military service. "As soon as I received the link, I didn't even wait a minute. I sent it right away, and within a week and a half, here I am," he said.
Itzik arrived at the recruitment center without knowing what specific task he will be assigned as a soldier, admitting: "I have no idea what I'm going to do here."
He emphasizes that while his family is supportive, the decision to enlist is still complex considering the society he comes from and the city he's from. "It's not easy to accept this. I hope it goes smoothly," he said. When asked about the potential impact of the current conscription on the discourse surrounding the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox Jews, especially considering the government's previous plans for extensive exemptions, he responds: "It can create an understanding that there is some kind of possibility, but you have to carefully consider what is truly the right way to do it."
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Crowds of Haredi men attend the funeral of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky on Sunday
Crowds of Haredi men attend the funeral of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky on Sunday
Haredi Jews are beginning to enlist
(Photo: Reuters)
According to data from the IDF's personnel division, approximately 3,000 ultra-Orthodox individuals have applied to volunteer for the army since the start of the war. Out of these, 2,100 have already completed questionnaires and demonstrated their seriousness. The IDF assesses each candidate to determine their suitability for immediate deployment. To provide perspective, in a typical year, around 1,200 ultra-Orthodox individuals enlist in the IDF.
It has been decided that ultra-Orthodox volunteers will also have the option to enlist as "working hands" in basic roles. They will not undergo basic training but will instead go through a streamlined and expedited recruitment process. These young individuals will be assigned to positions that the IDF urgently requires and that do not necessitate basic training. Their responsibilities will include assisting with funerals for the fallen and murdered, accompanying bereaved families, and fulfilling roles within the logistics department, among other tasks.
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