Making Torah study an object of contempt

Shoddy arguments to defend Haredi draft exemptions risk undermining support for Torah study.

June 11, 2012 15:55
Haredi IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley

Haredi IDF soldiers Tal Law 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout .)

However much I disagree, I can understand why the Haredim oppose moves to end their draft exemptions. What I can’t understand is why, in their effort to retain these exemptions, they have chosen a line of argument that risks undermining what would seem a priceless asset even from their own perspective: a nearly wall-to-wall consensus among Jewish Israelis that Torah study has intrinsic value to the Jewish state, and therefore, the state should support it.

To understand just how broad this consensus is, consider one simple fact: Virtually every proposal submitted to the Keshev Committee, which is considering alternatives to the Haredi draft exemption, stipulates that a sizable number of the best Torah students should continue to be exempt. And many also advocate having the state fully fund these students.


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