Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy (5 September 2017, 14 Elul, 5777)
What are the reasons that most Haredi/ultra-Orthodox Jews oppose conscription? And what has been the reaction to this?
There is a chance that the following note will be removed from Quora for offending very offensive people.
So read it while you can.
A question like the above about Hareidim not serving in the IDF, with slight variations, seems to come out on the average about once a week.
Is somebody getting paid to send these Troll-like queries?
Are they also paying others to answer them, always in the same way, always with prejudice against Hariedi Jews?
Before answering the question itself let us first ask why other pertinent and related questions are not asked just as frequently.
Why does the IDF waste so much money, energy, and valuable resources on training women soldiers?
This is against the Jewish religion, not economical, and counter-productive. Instead of putting out so much in a direction that in effect weakens the army why not strengthen the IDF in more cost-effective ways?
For every Hareidi who receives a deferment two or more secular potential conscriptees also do. Why is no-one asking about that?
The IDF receives many soldiers from the National Religious sector. These provide the highest percentage of combat soldiers, NCOs, and officer material. Why are the religious rights of these soldiers not respected more? Could it be that elements within the IDF do not really want them? If so, why make noise about the Hareidim?
Why is that the most virulent critics of Hareidim not serving in the army are often armchair Zionists from America, feminist old lady refugees from communist Russia, or shirkers who never served or if they served did so in cushy non-combative roles?
Now for some answers to the question itself. It was divided into two sections:
(a) What are the reasons that most Haredi/Ultra-Orthodox Jews oppose conscription?
(b) And what has been the reaction to this?
Dealing with (a) first.
What are the reasons that most Haredi/ultra-Orthodox Jews oppose conscription?
Hareidim do not oppose conscription. They simply understand that it should not apply to they who learn Torah.
In Ancient Times the present-day role of the Hareidim was fulfilled especially by the Tribe of Levi.
The Levites were dedicated to serving the Almighty.
The Levites did not go out to war (Numbers 18:29, Numbers chapter 26).
They were not pacifists and were allowed to use violence when needed. They just did not join the rest of Israel on the battlefield.
The Jewish People is now in the midst of a Cultural War.
There are elements among the Secular Forces who wish to destroy or pervert the practice of Judaism.
They have partial control of the Zionist Establishment in Israel.
One of their weapons is compulsory conscription of boys and girls into the IDF and letting nature take its course.
This is in addition to anti-religious officers and educational specialists etc exerting influence on religious soldiers in the army in a negative way.
This is not a theoretical claim but rather something that is taking place before our eyes with those numerous other religious Jews (mainly from the National Religious Camp) who do do serve. They serve and they become less religious due to the anti-religious atmosphere and deliberate pressures exerted against them.
The IDF needs soldiers but it often has more than it can cope with.
The IDF does not want Hareidim but secular forces pressure the IDF to make gestures as if it does.
There was a time when many Hareidim were joining the IDF in special units. They were doing well. Everyone was pleased with the arrangement and their numbers were increasing.
Then a secularist political party ("Yesh Atid") was created to target and discriminate against Hareidim even more than was already the case. This party, headed by Yair Lapid, became part of the governing coalition for about two years (2013-2014). The anti-religious atmosphere and policies that resulted caused the Hareidi leaders to lose confidence in the good intentions behind the IDF policy. The Hareidi willingness to cooperate with the IDF was drastically reduced. The IDF Chief-of-Staff had warned that is what would happen but he was not listened to. It was stated at the time by Hareidi MKs that the Hareidim were not really wanted neither in the work force nor in the IDF! There is something to this.
(b) And what has been the reaction to this?
A good deal of anti-Hareidi incitement is encountered in the media.
This influences the general public especially those who are already inclined to dislike Religious Jews.
The Hareidim are depicted as people who do not serve in the army for selfish reasons. They are also depicted as not wishing to work.
Hareidim are discriminated against in Israel. The Public Service is the major employer in the Israeli economy but very few (if any) Hareidim are accepted to it even when they have all the necessary academic qualifications. Hareidim pay taxes. Through the cumulative effect of Value Added Tax and other taxes about 50% of the money involved in all transactions goes to the Government. This money goes to support an anti-religious bureaucracy that reduces Israel to the level of a third-world nation. If Israel has achieved anything in any field it is more in spite of Secularism than because of it!
The Media Propaganda against Hareidim serves to empower the forces that discriminate against them. As far as government services are concerned Hareidim pay more and receive less. Nevertheless they are depicted as â€œparasitesâ€ by elements that are themselves parasitical!
Paradoxically in the IDF itself the Hareidi Political Parties receive a proportionately much higher percentage of the vote.Â
Soldiers in combat units appreciate the learning of Torah.
That is what Judaism is.