Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
What do you propose so that Haredi Jews don't get recruited in the Zionist military? (It's against Haredi Jews belief to join the Zionist military.)
(18 March, 2018, 2 Nisan, 5778)
Hareidim learn Torah. In Ancient Times when all the Tribes went out to war the Tribe of Levi stayed back. They learned Torah and officiated in religious duties instead. Jews who learn Torah full time are today doing what the Tribe of Levi used to do. Without the Torah there is no Jewish People and we have little right to the land. Every Jew should learn Torah but in reality most are not suited for it and/or will not do it. Let those who can do so. Not everyone has to be the same.
The paramount need to learn Torah would be the argument in an ideal theoretical situation. At present there are additional reasons why they who learn Torah should not be forced to do so:
1. Deliberate Secularization.
Many Religious Jews serve in the IDF. They are mainly from the National Religious Sector. They comprise less than 20% of the Jewish population but make up almost 50% of the front-line fighting forces. Their religious rights are not sufficiently respected. There is an attempt to make Religious Jews secular. This is part of a de facto Cultural War against the Jewish Religion.
2. De Facto Secularization. Objective forces working in Israeli Society as part of the modern world mean that many young impressionable religious youths who serve in the IDF will cease to be religious. This is what the statistics say. It is in addition to the deliberate attempts of some elements in the IDF to re-educate inductees in their own image. Some people want secularization. Others do not. The Hareidim do not. Historically secular Zionist Jews forced religious Jews to not keep the Shabat and other requirements.
3. Feminization. The IDF does much to empower women and have them serve in as many tasks as possible alongside the men. This is against the Jewish religion, it diminishes fighting effectiveness, causes gynecological problems, and economically costs more than it is worth. Nevertheless, if the IDF had to choose between religious youths who make the best soldiers and female soldiers who make the worst it would choose the females. This is due to ideological New Age pseudo-religious beliefs adopted by those in power. Why be a victim?
4. Surplus manpower. The IDF already has more serving than it needs. Almost 40% of potentially liable secular recruits are allowed, on request, not to serve or rejected as being not suitable. Pressure to conscript Hareidi youth emanate more from political considerations than anything else.
5. Economic Viability and National Service. The IDF should perhaps invest more in full-time professional research and front-line troops. Training raw recruits takes up money and energy. It is a question of priorities. It has been proposed that they who do NOT serve in the IDF should at least do some kind of community work. It may however be argued that from an economic and social point of view most such projects are counter-productive. They exist for ideological reasons more than exigent ones.
Why should learning Torah not be considered a form of National Service?