Drafting them with care

IDF service has the capacity to invigorate one’s very being, instilling feelings of pride, self-worth and belonging. It is a privilege rather than a burden.

Haredi man and IDF soldiers walk in Jerusalem
Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post
Since its inception in 1948, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has served as a major means of integrating Israel’s diverse population. Jews from all walks of life – religious and secular, Kibbutznik and urbanite, Sephardi and Ashkenazi – donned the iconic olive green uniform and fought for their country. They derived great pride, distinction, and honor. Yet as both the passage of time and the security of the state increased, the number of haredim (ultra-Orthodox) seeking military exemptions increased in tandem. This trend has produced a level of tension that now threatens to tear apart the intricate cultural fabric from which Israeli society was weaved nearly sixty-five years ago.

As a religious Jew and ardent Zionist, I believed that Israeli haredim should, of course, be compelled to serve in the military. After all, it seemed clear: United we stand, divided we fall.

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