Peres calls on haredi leaders to support haredi soldiers

President stresses that Israel consists of "one nation, not two."

peres meets with haredi soldiers 370 (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
peres meets with haredi soldiers 370
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres called on the haredi community to support ultra-Orthodox soldiers during a meeting with haredi troops on Sunday.
"I call on the heads of the haredi camp to be proud of the haredi soldiers, just as we are proud of you," Peres told the soldiers.
There has been a string of recent attacks perpetrated by haredi men that have targeted haredi soldiers. Many haredim oppose the idea of fellow haredi men drafting into the army.
Peres grounded his speech in the teachings of the Bible, saying, "we must protect against all acts of violence - these acts are against the concept of the ten commandments."
Peres' call for haredi support of haredi soldiers, corresponded with another attack which took place in Jerusalem's ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim. Police reported that two haredi men attack a uniformed soldier. Mea Shearim was the scene of a similar attack against a haredi soldier several days ago.
The president urged haredi soldiers to persevere in the face of opposition. "It is a mitzvah (religious commandment) to protect our country," Peres said. "No one is going to do it for us."
Though there have been tensions of late between the haredi community and the Israeli public that have been exacerbated as a result of the ultra-Orthodox Knesset parties having been left out of Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition government. Despite the turmoil, Peres reminded the nation that Israel is a unified country.
"We are all brothers, one nation, and not two," Peres said.
In response, a representative for the haredi soldiers commended the army for its support and made it clear that it is possible for haredi soldiers to serve in the army, while continuing to live truly to their lifestyle.
"When we are on active duty, and when we return home from the army, we study torah in the proper manner, alone or in pairs, or in yeshiva," the speaker said. "The IDF gives the necessary support network to make it possible to draft as haredi men and to be discharged as haredi men."