With moves afoot in the government to institute obligatory national service for haredi yeshiva students, Rabbi Simcha Avraham Halevi, the rebbe of the Ashlag Hassidim, declared on Saturday night that to achieve an equal share in the burden of national defense, all secular youth should be obligated to undertake religious studies.

“The Jewish people survived its entire cruel history not through the might of arms, not through airplanes or tanks, not through the deterrent effect of the IDF and not through the power of the State of Israel, but through the merit of Torah study and the fulfillment of its commandments,” the Bnei Brak-based rebbe proclaimed during his weekly Torah lesson.

“Therefore, we are obligated to bring about equality in the burden among our brothers of the Children of Israel, so that all secular youth bear the yoke of preserving and defending the inheritance of the Jewish people, and fulfill their national duty through Torah study and the fulfillment of the commandments.”

Discussing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to establish a working group to implement the Plesner recommendations on achieving national service for all citizens, Halevi said “malicious programs” are being plotted by the heads of government “to stick their paws” into the yeshiva system “with their empty claims about equality and responsibility.”

“The stupidity of their hearts prevents them from seeing and understanding that despite the ability of these students, who have many possibilities open to them to become wealthy and earn a better living due to their high intellect, they nevertheless kill themselves in the tents of Torah with self-sacrifice and many hours [of study] every day.

They scorn the vanities of the world and are the true defenders of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.”

The rebbe concluded by saying that anyone dodging their national service duties of Torah study would have to provide an accounting for evading his obligations.

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