Members of the Bnei Akiva youth movement in Ramat Gan responded with criticism to the high school seniors' letter published by Ynet Monday, which called on teens to refuse mandatory IDF service.
"We can't let the voice of one minority change the entire national mood to one big down," says 18-year old Eran Vider. He and his friends have decided to write a letter of opposition calling on teens to enlist and fight the evasion of army service.
More than 500 high school seniors had already signed the letter on Tuesday morning, and many more signatures are thought to be forthcoming as the students make rounds through various high schools in central Israel.
"Every year we hear the voices of those calling for the evasion of service with ideological declarations, and this year we have decided not to remain indifferent or silent, to show that this is the opinion of a minority and that we, the youth of today, want to continue in the path of the founders of Israel," the letter says.
The students add that although "it is clear to all that the IDF is moral", some changes need to be made as a matter of progress. "We believe true change will come from the acceptance of responsibility within the army, not by running away from it. We believe that we, on our way to enlist, will lead on an ethical path," the letter says.
The seniors' letter has traditionally called for the evasion of mandatory service since 1979. This year's letter was signed by just 80 students.
"Really, we don't understand them," says Vider. "If they can't accept the holding of weapons, why can't they at least perform national service?"