Haredim in the IDF get the small-screen treatment

'Kippat Barzel' shines spotlight on the 'Nahal Haredi' battalion.

By
October 18, 2017 02:00
2 minute read.
Haredim in the IDF get the small-screen treatment

The protagonists of ‘Kippat Barzel,’ playing infantrymen in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, pose at their base.. (photo credit: ODED KARNI)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

A group of angry ultra-Orthodox Jews surrounds a bus, yelling and throwing eggs on it. Aboard the bus? Haredi men who are signing up for army service.

While it could be a clip in a news story, this scene is from the first episode of Kippat Barzel, an Israeli scripted drama from Keshet that premiered on Tuesday night.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The show, whose title translates to Iron Dome but is also a pun relating to the kippa, tells the story of a platoon in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, still known as “Nahal Haredi” although it is no longer part of the Nahal Brigade.

The ragtag group, made up of religious young men of all stripes, hails from varying backgrounds and families – with very disparate motivations for enlisting.

The focus sits on three of the platoon members: Yaakov, an idealistic and devout hassid from Jerusalem, Amram, a wayward youth from Bnei Brak escaping something sinister, and Gur, a National-Religious soldier whose mindset becomes the subject of concern as the series unfolds.

The show is directed by Alon Zingman, who is also behind the popular TV program Shtisel, which focuses on an ultra-Orthodox family living in the heart of Jerusalem.

Israeli audiences have seen many shows focused on army life – after all, it’s a reality for the majority of citizens. But, as Kippat Barzel portrays, life as a haredi soldier offers a different slate of trials and tribulations than the average recruit encounters.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


These young men have to adjust to life away from yeshiva and their insular communities. They are encountering – despite efforts to the contrary – young women for perhaps the first time, and discover both newfound freedom and newfound restrictions. The group also experiences resistance from some secular platoons on the same base, who see the ultra-Orthodox soldiers as easy targets for pranks and hazing.

And, unlike most secular soldiers, many of the characters in the show are subject to another hardship – the rejection of their families. The first episode shows Yaakov carefully changing out of his uniform in the bathroom before returning to his parents’ home, where he is turned away at the door.

“It’s best if you go sleep at your grandmother’s,” his father tells him, saying the family has had a “difficult week” since he enlisted. After his departure he has a run-in with his friends and brother, who have a more violent reaction to what they see as Yaakov’s betrayal.

Haredi men who enlist in the IDF are a small but growing group; figures from 2016 show the rate at approximately 30%, compared to 72% of the general male population.

The show is sure to stir feelings on the sensitive topic from all sides, though the haredi community is not a big consumer of TV. But it may also rouse compassion for the struggle of the young men going against all odds, and against the tide.

Kippat Barzel can be seen on Channel 2 and on Mako.co.il, and will move to Channel 12 Keshet when the TV networks split next month.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni attends a protest against violence against women, Tel Aviv, October 18
October 18, 2018
Hundreds protest 'unbearable' violence against women in Israel

By SARA RUBENSTEIN