Ya'alon reinstates Har Bracha yeshiva to hesder program

Ehud Barak cut the yeshiva from the program in 2009 after its head refused to retract statements made regarding settlements.

Religious IDF soldier 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Religious IDF soldier 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) restored the Har Bracha Yeshiva to the hesder program on Monday.
Former defense minister Ehud Barak cut it from the hesder program in 2009 after its head, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, refused to retract statements he made in support of a soldier’s right to refuse orders to evacuate Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
Melamed also refused a summons to attend a hearing on the matter at Barak’s office.
It was the first time since the hesder program was created in 1953 that a yeshiva was removed from its rosters.
There are some 40 hesder yeshivot that combine 18 months of military service with three-and-a-half years of Jewish studies.
In 2011, Barak made a conciliatory gesture to the Har Bracha Yeshiva and included it in the list of seminaries whose students qualify for military service deferral.
Ya’alon said he had received requests to return the yeshiva to the hesder program and had investigated the matter.
“I was convinced that there is no intention [at the yeshiva to] preach about refusing to follow orders. I have zero tolerance for disobedience; this was true in the past and will remain true in the future,” Ya’alon said.
The Samaria Regional Council received final confirmation that the yeshiva had been reinstated to the hesder program on Monday afternoon.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayti Yehudi) said he welcomed Ya’alon’s decision, adding that the yeshiva should never have been dropped from the hesder program in the first place.