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Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
' In current atmopshere, rabbis will not permit draft; yeshiva students won't agree to enlist'
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Photo: Meir Partush
Eitan Haber
Photo: Meir Partush

Let's wait 3 years and see

Op-ed: New haredi draft bill basically says 'equal share' issue was a successful election gimmick

The drawers in the different government ministries, and especially in the state archives, are deep enough to also contain the haredi draft report prepared recently by a ministerial committee headed by Yaakov Peri. The cemeteries for shelved reports covered with dust. That is where the Peri Report will likely be buried too.

 

The State of Israel, in the 65 years since its foundation, has already seen dozens and hundreds of reports. The State of Israel likes reports. After a day or two of mass publication, it likes to see them dead. And we shall already say this now: We hope to be proven wrong. It's not what we want, but it's probably what will happen.

 

A few words of introduction: During the War of Independence, in 1948, there were several companies serving in the IDF which were comprised entirely of religious soldiers and were called "the religious companies." The idea to place all of them under one command proved to be awful: Dozens of these companies' soldiers were killed, sometimes in a single battle.

 

One of the results was maintaining a reserve of young religious men in yeshivot, as "keepers of the flame." Their number rose mainly since Menachem Begin was elected prime minister, and he was assisted in this matter by the public figures of the religious world, led by Haim Israeli, head of the defense minister's bureau, who was very fond of the Zionist-national-religious world.

 

Yaakov Peri was a good Shin Bet director. Peri was also chairman of the board of directors of a large bank. Peri is now a politician. An experienced person like him knows that the chances to implement the conclusions of his committee are not high, to say the least.

 

For 65 years, the greatest rabbis and yeshiva heads have managed to create a demonic, almost satanic atmosphere around the enlistment of haredim to the IDF. They managed to convey to their tens of thousands of students that the draft is almost a destruction decree in their eyes. The rabbis and yeshiva heads were afraid and are still afraid that the military service will make yeshiva students choose a secular life, and see the IDF draft as something which must not be done under any circumstance.

 

In the current atmosphere, there is almost no chance for what we refer to these days as "an equal share of the burden." The rabbis will not permit the enlistment; the yeshiva students will not agree to enlist.

 

Key section: Postponing draft by 3 years

And we, where are we headed? Will we return to the images of "The Saison" from the days of the British Mandate, when a Jew from the Haganah pursued his Jewish brother from the Irgun? What will the IDF do? Send Military Police brigades to the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak or to the home of the Sadigura Rebbe? Are there even enough military policemen to arrest thousands of haredi draft dodgers?

 

And what about the prisons? Will they double and triple the number of detention cells? For how many days, months or years in jail will haredim who do not want to don IDF uniform be sentenced to? A day after military policemen drag yeshiva students into prison cars, the government will convene for an emergency discussion and rack its brains: What shall we do?

 

And that is most likely the bitter truth: What kept the Jewish people in the Diaspora for thousands of years, the fervent faith and the ability to adapt to the government, any government, keeps the haredi community in the Land of Israel as well. The decrees will not affect the believers, and they will find any trick in the book to deceive the authorities, in order to outsmart the IDF.

 

The members of the Peri Committee must have realized the magnitude of the obstacle they were challenged with, and reached the right conclusion as far as they are concerned as politicians: Postponing the enlistment of haredim to the IDF by three years. This is the key section in the Peri Report, and it says, in other words: The entire issue of an equal share of the burden was a successful election gimmick, which brought many people to the voting stations, and now we'll wait three years and see.

 

In the State of Israel, where events things – sometimes historic events – happen on a daily basis, three years are eternity. It will be interesting to save this short list and look back at what has happened three years from now. 

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 05.26.13, 20:05
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