Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Shalom Cohen instructs yeshiva students not to enlist in army

Cohen’s letter comes against a background of increasing activity against IDF enlistment by extremists in the haredi community.

By
July 30, 2015 18:52
2 minute read.
Rabbi Shalom Cohen.

Rabbi Shalom Cohen.. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)

 
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 Don't show it again

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Shalom Cohen signed a letter earlier this month strongly warning ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students against joining the army and denouncing haredi figures who promote IDF enlistment by saying they would have no place in the world to come.

Cohen’s letter comes against a background of increasing activity against IDF enlistment by extremists in the haredi community, mostly not associated with the Sephardi community that Shas and Cohen represent.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Published by Kol Hai Radio on Wednesday night, Cohen’s letter, signed on July 20, attributed the security of the Jewish people to the merit earned by those who study Torah and said that no yeshiva student, married or single, should enlist.

“God forbid, that an unmarried yeshiva student at any level of learning, or a married student, even if he has problems with his income, should leave the holy guard post [yeshiva], and should not be enticed by any ‘haredi’ or non-haredi elements promising a future with money and honor if he joins some [IDF] course,” Cohen said.

And the rabbi spoke in even harsher terms about people in the haredi community who are actively promoting IDF enlistment.

“All those who entice and incite cause the masses to sin,” he said in reference to such people, and quoted Maimonides, the famous medieval rabbinic authority, who ruled that someone who causes others to sin loses their place in the afterlife.

A Shas official played down the importance of Cohen’s letter, saying that this was a natural position for Cohen as a conservative-minded rabbi who has for most of his life served as the head of the flagship Sephardi haredi Porat Yosef Yeshiva, and added that this was not a widely held position with the haredi Sephardi community.



In light of the ongoing campaign by extremists from the Ashkenazi haredi community against IDF enlistment, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s subcommittee on the IDF’s human resources convened Thursday morning to evaluate the action being taken against this phenomenon.

The campaign takes the form of posters, pamphlets and booklets bearing cartoons and other images that strongly incite against haredi officials involved in promoting IDF service, routinely depicting such people as pigs and malign elements attempting to corrupt haredi youth.

Earlier this month, a booklet containing the names, photos and contact details of senior figures in the haredi community who promote enlistment was published by extremists as part of their efforts to harass and delegitimize haredi enlistment and those who are advancing it.

The booklet claimed that “hundreds of haredi recruiters lie in wait for the youth,” and are described as “professional missionaries with a haredi appearance” who “sold their souls to Satan for a little bit of money.”

Several police investigations into this and similar incidents have been opened, although no one has yet been charged. A police representative said during the Knesset’s hearing that the investigation was ongoing and that he would shortly be requesting an update in order to issue indictments to those responsible.

Related Content

August 19, 2018
Gal Gadot hits Forbes highest-paid actress list

By AMY SPIRO