Barak - A desperate spin tactic?
Photo: AP

Barak’s Orthodox spin

Defense minister’s war on religious draft-dodgers merely a way to score political points

Dear Ehud Barak,


So, there are no more Grad rockets landing in Ashkelon? The days of Qassam attacks in Sderot are over? All is quiet on the southern front? No more burning security issues? Gaza is clear of terrorists? You already brought the three abducted IDF troops back home? The southern town of Ashdod is already fortified?


Oh, I forgot, of course, there’s a much more burning issue than all the ones I just mentioned – the Labor party’s and your own political survival. You are looking for excuses to explain why you failed to deliver on your promise to quit the government in the wake of the Winograd report. So now, you’re looking for the latest spin in order to avert the criticism and quickly return to the warm embrace of the Israeli “mainstream.” That is, the secular, Ashkenazi, elitist Israel.


What is more convenient and popular than picking on the ultra-Orthodox, and particularly yeshiva boys? Why deal with the country’s most urgent problems, the hard and serious way, when the much simpler way is to slam the Orthodox. There you have it, the good old recipe for political survival.


It is ridiculous to see Ehud Barak, who coined the term “a small, smart army,” coming up with this new spin. But as we have learned, Barak is not embarrassed by past statements. He has no problem with it. After all, he is always pragmatic and “looking to the future.”


Ask Barak to focus on real problems

Barak is the last person who wants to see yeshiva boys in the IDF. Look how he “warmly” embraced yeshiva students who are already in the army. Recently, the defense establishment is making their lives truly difficult: They are being dispersed among various units, including mixed units that include both males and females, just because we are really “interested” to see the Orthodox join the IDF.


My ultra-Orthodox brothers, I ask one thing of you: At this time, please don’t grace Barak with the endless lectures about the spiritual contribution made by yeshiva students to the people of Israel. Don’t read him Bialik’s songs regarding the contribution made by the study of the Torah. Do not compare those who study Torah to those who endanger their lives in the army, for example those serving in Army Radio, in the IDF orchestra, or as secretaries.


Don’t do all this because I’ve got news for you: Barak is even more interested than the Orthodox in seeing yeshiva boys stay out of the army. He simply needs this issue as a punching bag, just like the air he breathes. This spin is a result of his desperation, so please don’t play into his hands.


Instead, just ask him to start focusing on resolving the country’s real problems, rather than confusing the masses with the opium of spins and children shows.


פרסום ראשון: 03.08.08, 13:04
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