Haredi demonstration against IDF enlistment legislation 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Haredi leaders, rabbis and media went on the offensive on Thursday against the
bill for ultra-Orthodox enlistment that the Peri Committee approved on
They issued a series of denunciations against the measure,
accompanied by dire prophecies about what would happen if the legislation
Leading haredi daily Yated Ne’eman
, the mouthpiece of the Degel
Hatorah faction of the non-hassidic haredi community, emblazoned the words “A
Government of Evil: Torah Students to Jail” across its front page Thursday
Degel Hatorah is one of two parties that make up United Torah
“There is shock and disgust in the Jewish world in light of the
shameful decisions of the [Peri] Committee and the wild incitement against Torah
students,” the paper declared.
, the newspaper of record for
the hassidic Agudat Yisrael party, declared in its front-page headline that
“haredi Judaism in Israel and around the world will stand with strength and
pride against the decision to draft yeshiva students by force and to throw them
into prison for the ‘crime’ of learning Torah.” Speaking with The Jerusalem
, Rabbi Shlomo Brilland, director of the Association of Yeshivot, described
the bill as “violent” and “wild,” and said it was being proposed in the
knowledge that it would fail.
“Will it cause anyone to enlist? Absolutely
not,” he said on Thursday. “Not one yeshiva student will enlist as a result of
it, and instead they’ll go to jail with their heads held high.” On the contrary,
he said, “it will cause the haredi world to close in and will naturally create
In the short term, the leading haredi rabbis have so far
called only for increased Torah study as a reaction to the proposed legislation,
he continued, adding that at this stage they were not in favor of protests and
The mass haredi protest that took place earlier this
month was organized by the radical Eda Haredit communal organization, along with
the hard-line Jerusalem Faction, and not by the mainstream haredi
In an interview with haredi website Kikar Hashabbat, Haim
Valder, a well known haredi author and educator, said that in light of what he
described as a general persecution of haredim, the tone of the public debate and
the haredi reaction to the Peri Committee bill would get sharper.
added, however, that he did not believe the law would be implemented.
don’t think that anything will come out of the Peri Committee recommendations,
and no yeshiva students will be drafted or sent to prison for not enlisting,”
Following the publication of the committee recommendations,
all seven United Torah Judaism MKs fiercely condemned the proposals.
Uri Maklev said that the only thing that had guaranteed Jewish survival
throughout the ages was Torah study.
“The Romans and the Tsars and the
Cossacks of our generation are unfortunately hypocritical and pretend
‘brothers,’ and they are the cause and partner to the persecution of the Torah,”
MK Ya’acov Asher accused Yesh Atid leader and Finance
Minister Yair Lapid of seeking to cover up his “economic failures” by making
headlines out of taunting and baiting haredim.
“They don’t care about
enlistment, they prefer arrests to enlistment, they prefer protests to
enlistment, because this helps them in light of their economic and budgetary
failures,” claimed Asher.
And MK Menahem Eliezer Mozes declared that “the
haredi world is not concerned by one law or another.
The Torah world will
continue to exist, and yeshiva students will continue to study.” On Tuesday, the
day before the Peri Committee concluded its work, top haredi spiritual leader
Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman called on the haredi world to increase its Torah
studies as the only way to avert the “decrees” against it.
“We don’t know
why this storm has arisen, and we don’t have a prophet to tell us what to
correct in order to nullify these harsh decrees, so we will examine our ways,”
“We must increase and strengthen our Torah studies,
continuously without interference... and strengthen our prayer and our
supplication before the Master of all, to nullify the decrees hanging over us.”