Disgust and pain, contempt and threats, this was the reception within the haredi community on Tuesday upon passage of the first reading of a bill that would significantly increase enlistment among ultra-Orthodox Israelis into the IDF and national service. Along with complete faith in the non-implementation of the draft law, some made it clear that the fight against it would not end in haredi military enlistment. "We'll take it to the point of civil war," they promised.
“The brothers Bennet-Lapid, Bibi the coward and Peri, who speak from the pulpit of the Knesset in a manner that is inarticulate and perverse, can have fun with their laws, but they themselves, and all the 66 Knesset members who voted in favor of this surreal law, don’t believe it will be enacted,” said Rabbi Mordechai Bleu, a prominent haredi community leader. According to him, the “declarative law” only strengthens the yeshiva world, “which is strengthening, uniting and closing itself off.”
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Bleu complained that Israel is the hardest place for an observant Jew, as he defined it, adding that "Poland has now decreed against Jewish slaughter, but here they fight against everything that has the smell of Judaism. The government and the coalition have nothing in the world, they spend hours until the early morning taking the few shekels that are left in the haredi community and irritating more haredim. There is a deep hatred here of messed up people – a surreal TV broadcaster and hi-tech trader who think you can trade in the most sacred values of the Jewish people. "
After heated debate and continuous clashes and protests, the draft bill was approved in its first reading, with the support of 66 Knesset members. The law has now been transferred to a special committee chaired by MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), which will prepare it for second and third readings.
Joseph, a yeshiva student from Jerusalem, is married with three children. He made a connection between the recent cuts in the defense budget and military efficiency measures, to the approval of the law. "The chief of staff and defense minister know that there is no lack of manpower and they do not really need the haredim. We see that the IDF is only shrinking the army divisions, and drafting the haredim would waste a lot of money without any benefit.”
He explained that the purpose of the law is to integrate haredim into Israeli society, and stressed that "for conservatives this is a disaster. To mix with the secular public in the military, and then later in the job market, crosses all red lines."
According to him, the path of the law will inevitably lead to civil struggle. "The rabbis see in this a war of extermination; we will fight it in every way, and indeed, in all ways. Haredim do not hold weapons, but yes, we will take it to the point of civil war. At this point, everything is talk, but if and when there is the littlest attempt at taking boys from yeshiva, the resistance will be in proportion,” he said.
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