Haredi officials rushed to slam the rookie politician and accused him of holding hatred towards members of their sector. This is a regular pattern: Anyone who attempts to impose any kind of change on the haredim is accused of hating them and often also of anti-Semitism. Those who view themselves as the guardians of real Judaism apparently cannot address criticism against them in any other way.
Yet don’t conclude from the above that I endorse Lapid’s proposal. The forced enlistment of thousands of youngsters lacking any professional training guarantees a huge waste of money and immense corruption. So what should we do?
I’ve heard all the prevailing views and none of them convinced me. When a question has no answer for a long period of time, we must realize that no answer exists and come up with another question. Hence, the correct question is not how to draft the haredim and draw them into the job market, but rather, what should be done in order to minimize their rate within Israeli society.
Ignorance, prejudice and povertyOnce the haredi population declines, the gravity of the issue of enlisting them to the army would decline as well. In other words, the enlistment question is no more than a slight nuisance in the framework of a broad spiritual and political struggle, which Israel’s majority fears to engage in. Yet without a quick change in current trends, all hope will be lost in the coming years for the Hebrew state in its Zionist version. The haredim shall win.
Nonetheless, it appears that most of us are like a deer caught in headlights. Most of us call for unity instead of heading to battle. Most of us are polite and adhere to the rules of political correctness, while avoiding the need to judge the rival.
Hasn’t the time come to openly say what we feel? Haredi society educates people to be parasites and cultivates poverty. Indeed, it is the most powerful agent of spreading ignorance, prejudice and all sorts of other nonsense. It is an enemy of the sciences, shuns the arts, disparages the rule of the people, hates women and exploits them. It despises those who are different, regardless of whether they are foreigners or members of our own people.
The strengthening of haredi society is a guarantee for weakening Israeli society to the point of ultimate defeat. Hence, the intellectual effort dedicated to the issue of IDF enlistment should be dedicated to the great challenge: Shrinking the ranks of the haredim.