Yesh Atid MK Rabbi Dov Lipman greeted the largest enlistment of haredim in IDF history on Thursday, expressing his great pride and respect for the young men.
He told the group of 300-400 new recruits that they would "be able to serve as an example to other haredim and have an important role as ambassadors for the haredi community."
New recruits will be divided into two new units which are being established to accommodate the specific requirements of ultra-Orthodox recruits, Army Radio reported. One of the new units will be called Netzah Yehuda, while no specifics have been given for the second unit mentioned in the report.
Lipman added that Israel must correct misinformation among the haredi community regarding the IDF, including "less haredim enlisting because of the new law, about the army not needing haredi soldiers, and about the religious needs not being met by the army."
Lipman insisted that "Nahal Haredi meets the needs of the haredi young men on all fronts" and also stressed "how much these young men are needed in the army."
Upon entering the room to meet with the new recruits, Lipman was overwhelmed to see a group of young ultra-Orthodox men wearing black kippot, tzitzit, and peiyot.
"I am so proud of you. I am actually jealous of you. The army would not take me for service when I made aliya nine years ago because of my age and number of children. You are blessed with the opportunity to observe Torah and mitzvot to the fullest and serve in a Jewish army in a Jewish state. May God be with you and we be here to help you in any way needed."
During the enlistment ceremony, Lipman spoke with two young haredi soldiers who told him their families were not supportive of their enlistment. Lipman provided his contact information to the young men and offered to host them in his home for shabbat and when they are given time off from service.
Despite the recent incidences of threats and harassment of haredi soldiers, there are now 3,500 Orthodox soldiers serving in the IDF, and plans to have 10,000 within the next five years and a survey released by the IDF on Wednesday said that 85% of haredi soldiers are proud to serve in the IDF.
Science and Technology Minister and chairman of the Peri Committee which focuses on equalizing Israel's enlistment burden, Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid), was pleased with the results of the survey.
"I am extremely satisfied with the size of the last group of yeshiva students that enlisted into the Nahal Haredi unit," said Peri, "More than 70% of yeshiva students want to contribute, enlist and bear the burden."