ultra-Orthodox Jews pray a morning prayer next to their house as synagogues limited to twenty people following the government's measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in Bnei Brak, Israel
Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray
Photo: AP
Crowds of Haredi men attend the funeral of community spiritual leader, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky earlier this year

Israel's Memorial Day raises Haredi IDF draft dilemma

Despite viral footage of ultra-Orthodox Jews who willfully ignore Israel’s memorial siren, Bnei Brak residents say they 'do not represent the city'; some claim they contribute in other ways

i24NEWS |
Published: 05.03.22, 20:56
Memorial Day, a commemoration which honors Israel’s fallen, also looks to highlight the complicated relationship between ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities and the country’s security establishment.
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  • Israel has a policy of mandatory military conscription, but the majority of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the country, seek religious exemption and do not serve.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    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
    Crowds of Haredi men attend the funeral of community spiritual leader, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky earlier this year
    (Photo: Reuters)
    “The majority only believe that studying Torah protects the state of Israel, protects the Jewish people,” Yanki Farber, an ultra-Orthodox journalist and resident of the mostly ultra-Orthodox city Bnei Brak, said.
    “So they don’t really join the Israeli army, but they do other things to… help their government by joining so many social aid organizations,” he said.
    Every year, footage emerges online, of ultra-Orthodox Jews who continue to walk during Israel’s memorial siren - a moment where Israelis are traditionally supposed to stand in silence to honor the fallen.
    However, locals in Bnei Brak say that these instances are not reflective of the entire ultra-Orthodox community.
    “People will not walk on the street when the siren goes on… Maybe one or two [people] will, but they don’t represent the city,” Farber said.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    ultra-Orthodox Jews pray a morning prayer next to their house as synagogues limited to twenty people following the government's measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in Bnei Brak, Israel
    ultra-Orthodox Jews pray a morning prayer next to their house as synagogues limited to twenty people following the government's measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in Bnei Brak, Israel
    Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray
    (Photo: AP)
    Ya’akov, another Bnei Brak resident, also expressed his gratitude to Israel’s security forces, for their efforts to protect the city after a shooting attack in March, where five people were murdered .
    “We have great appreciation for the security forces who acted so quickly during the attack here,” he said.
    “May there be many more such people.”
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