Conservative rabbis: Keep yeshiva IDF exemptions

Deans of conservative national-religious yeshiva Har Hamor decry negotiations to increase haredi participation in national service.

March 13, 2013 01:14
1 minute read.
Rabbi Mordechai Shternberg

Rabbi Mordechai Shternberg 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The deans of the conservative national-religious yeshiva Har Hamor issued a letter on Monday decrying ongoing negotiations focused on increasing the number of haredim serving in national service programs.

Har Hamor is one of the most prominent institutions for Torah study in the conservative national-religious world, and is noted for its stringent outlook on issues of Jewish law and life in Israel.

“All the talk and proposals for limiting Torah study in Israel, setting quotas and plans for limiting the budgets, and support for it by those who lack knowledge and have too much political and manipulative power, constitutes an injury to the crown of Torah, a desecration of God’s name and the degradation of the cornerstone of Israel,” wrote Rabbis Tzvi Yisrael Tau, Mordechai Shternberg and Amiel Shternberg.

The chairman of the national-religious Bayit Yehudi, Naftali Bennett, is coming under considerable pressure from the conservative wing of the community and its leadership not to make drastic changes to the ability of full-time yeshiva students to gain exemptions from military service.

Rabbi Dov Lior, perhaps the most senior conservative national-religious leader, sent a similar letter to the prime minister and Knesset faction heads on Monday night calling for the preservation of military exemptions.

The national-religious community has an extremely high rate of enlistment and soldiers from the sector are especially prevalent in combat units, but rabbis from the conservative wing of the movement are becoming more inclined to support military exemptions for fulltime yeshiva students, be they national-religious or haredi.

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