Rabbis call to safeguard yeshiva students from IDF

Senior national religious rabbis send letter to PM urging them not to “harm” ability of Torah students to continue their studies.

March 12, 2013 02:53
1 minute read.
HAREDI DEMONSTRATORS protest in Jerusalem against performing national service.

Haredim protest enlistment 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

A group of senior national religious rabbis led by Kiryat Arba’s chief rabbi, Dov Lior, sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the leaders of all political factions calling on them not to “harm” the ability of Torah students to continue their studies.

The letter also implored the future government to “preserve the spiritual heart of our country” by adhering to Judaism in matters of conversion and family.

The letter may put pressure on Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett in terms of what is being negotiated for increasing haredi enlistment in national service programs.

Lior and the other signatories, rabbis Elyakim Levanon, David Hai Cohen, Michael Hershkowitz and Shimon Cohen, represent the conservative wing of the national religious movement and are opposed to sweeping changes in the ability of full-time yeshiva students to gain exemptions from military service.

The so-called “hardal” (haredi national religious) wing of the community is represented within Bayit Yehudi by four MKs of the hard-right Tkuma party, including the number two on the Bayit Yehudi list, Tkuma chairman Uri Ariel, and number four, Rabbi Eli Ben- Dahan.

“The apple of our eye, those who study Torah, must not be injured at all, God forbid, in their studies,” the letter read.

“We must all preserve the public nature of Shabbat,” the rabbis added, insisting as well on the “exclusive rights of the Jewish people on the entire breadth of the land inherited from our forefathers.”

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