My Response to Caroline Glick's 'Israel and Anne Frank's Jewishness'

 If you haven't read Caroline's brilliant post yet I urge you to do so now right here.
I loved it and adore her courage for writing it. I responded as follows:
Dear Caroline,

I have been waiting for some time for you to write an article like this. As per usual, I agree with every word. More importantly you have exposed Israel’s omnipotent Supreme Court as (my words only) a bunch of goyim. 
It’s obvious that the majority of them (if not all) are ashamed of their Jewishness and from their policy and decisions one can often come to the shameful observation that they often despise their religious Israeli Jews even more than their mortal enemies, radical Islamists. 

I myself am a secular Jew (in practice) who lives in Toronto Canada. But I am an anomaly because I support the Haredim. Those that contribute to Jewish society by supporting themselves and continue to keep Judaism alive. 

How does one keep Judaism alive? Buy studying the Torah of course. As you know (I’m sure) Haredim consider the study of Torah the best defence of the Jewish people. In other words it’s no less important and maybe more so, to have young Jewish men fervently study in Yeshivot than it is to send them to the army. 

I’m not a fool. I can certainly understand the secular Jew’s point of view. My own left-leaning cousins in Tel Aviv hate the Haredim much like Israel’s supreme court. Why should their children be sent to the IDF and maybe come home without an arm, leg or worse while the Haredim’s sons get to party it up in the safety of a yeshiva?

It’s certainly a sensitive point and one almost insolvable. Because in order to make a point to the other side, the other side has to see things your way. In other words for the Haredim’s words to have meaning to the secular Jews they must be Haredim. For the secular Jews (more accurately non-Haredim), for their words to have meaning to the Haredim, the Haredim must not be Haredim.

But one can make some cogent arguments about this in defence of the Haredim. And further the situation on the ground is not black and white. Jews as a whole can be divided into possibly thousands of groups. Some of us are Jews in name only. We might identify as Jews but follow no traditional, cultural or religious practices whatsoever. The next level might be Jews who love eating lux, cream cheese and bagels and thusly consider themselves Jewish. Out of the religious sector there are likewise many distinct groups and some not so distinct.
That’s why when some of my friends are verbally attacking religious Jews I must insist that they define exactly which group they are referring to. On one side are the Neturei Karta who look in dress exactly like any Hassid you might see (who are themselves composed of many sects). This group is violently anti-Israel to the point of siding with Iran’s muslim leaders. On the other side might be my sister’s sizeable group. They are not Hassids so their dress and religious behaviour is similar to modern orthodox Jews. They happen to be Litvash, named after the Jews of Lithuania and the rav who was their spiritual leader there.The Mizrachi Jews who may include some modern orthodox Jews often study at yeshivot but might also include a stint with the IDF. 

Jews like my sisters group and other Haredim have learned after hundred of years that if you give up on the Torah, the world will crumble. In fact they (and other Jews who have studied the Talmud-explanation of the written Torah) have learned right from Genesis that the world exists for the Torah. The Torah must be studied 24/7. In fact that’s why they believe G-d made the earth spin on it’s axis as it revolves around the sun, and results in time zones around the world where at the same point in time, one section is day while another is night. One can’t study Torah when asleep.

To get to the point, the gadolim (the rabbinic leaders who all members of one sect of the religious Jews follow) insist that the secular Jews and others (muslims who brazenly seek Israel's destruction) who make up the government of Israel can’t be trusted. Based on some if not many government leaders' behaviour (corruption) and policy (give back holy Jewish land to our enemies) who can argue with them? 
In times of absolute necessity is it required for yeshiva students to sign up for the IDF? If the gadolim decide that yes, we have no choice and must do so, then their Haredi group would absolutely sign up. The fact is that more and more Haredim are signing up in recent years. It would help if the military leadership provided religious soldiers all that they require to keep the mitzvot (Jewish commandments & customs) while serving.
This situation seems to be improving albeit slowly. If a young Haredi man is observed to be screwing around and not taking his Torah study seriously, then their Rav (rabbi) might order him to join the IDF. If you’re not going to save us by studying Torah then you might as well try to save us by joining the IDF where you might receive the discipline you need. 

The truth is that studying in a yeshiva is not a party. Young Jewish boys are often sent away from home to yeshivas (schools for serious Jewish study) in other cities. They are forced to bunk with other boys they don’t know. They miss their parents and siblings. Studying is long and hard and is taken very seriously and in many cases done in a dank basement of an old decrepit building. In other worlds, it’s not a party. I doubt that many secular Jews could or would do it. 

The other important fact to consider is that today the IDF is saturated with too many soldiers. Yes you read that correctly. Even the IDF will admit it. Throwing more soldiers into battle is not necessarily the key to win. In fact it might simply cause more casualties and do the opposite. Today's battles are more and more frequently done via high tech drones, cyber war fare and intelligence gathering. Every country’s military’s leaders will admit that the makeup of their military has changed significantly over the last 20 years and is still morphing at lightning speed. The days of large armies marching towards their enemies are long gone. 

Looking at Israel’s situation I see it as one more amazing miracle. Despite the religious sector being in the minority of the population, they continue to be part of government coalitions and as such hold some power. While some (maybe even many) consider that a bad thing, I do not. The miracle is that the country continues to not only exist but to succeed in all areas. Socially, culturally, scientifically and religiously. 

My defence to those who hate the Haredim is simply this: If you value Judaism at all, then you must thank the Haredim for keeping Judaism alive. Haredim have the least number of Jews who leave the religion. In all other non-religious sects, Jews often leave due to intermarriage and for often losing any connection to Judaism. Also, unlike Haredim and other religious Jews who have a very high birth rate, secular Jews have a low birth rate. After a couple of generations if we were all secular, the Jewish religion as we know it (not just bagel eating Jews) would disappear into thin air. 

My lecture to Haredim and others is that we must not attack or hate others that are not like them. Including Gentiles (goyim). Case in point, it was mostly the Christian farm boys and a myriad of other men and women from all denominations and places, some plumbers, salespeople, doctors, rich and poor who helped rescue us from the ovens in the Holocaust. Many of those people made the ultimate sacrifice to help save the free world including religious Jews from thousands of shtetels (small Jewish villages) throughout Europe. In fact we must forever be indebted to them. 

I see the Haredim like my sister as intelligent, wise and practical. Without spending hours and hours watching CNN or Fox (they usually don’t have TV’s or radios and have limited internet if at all) they somehow know the ’story’. They know that if they subscribe to the ‘2 States for 2 Peoples’ paradigm that it would mean the end of Israel. They clearly got the message early on that Obama is not our friend. Not the secular Jews friend nor the friend of Haredim.
While many intellectual, liberal, non-Haredi Jews throughout the world continue to vote for leaders who would throw Israel under the bus if they could and who simply do not see the real picture, these often apolitical Haredim (men, women and children who live in super crowded places like Bnei Brak or Mea Shaarim) and who devote their lives to the study of Torah, get it. Their gadolim seem to get it. They have insight. Maybe their insight comes from the ultimate place, Hashem. Many world leaders especially some not so religious Israeli leaders, often seek advice from these great wise men. 

It’s essential that we find common ground with each other and learn to appreciate each other. I believe that we all serve a purpose. Maybe mine is to be a Jewish activist. I might be secular in practice but I am no less Jewish than my Haredi sister and I think she would agree.
Today I find that many of my righteous Gentile friends are more vocal of their support of Jews and Israel than some of my Jewish friends. Like the Muslim silent majority who refuse to reign in their vocal and active terror obsessed minority and thus render themselves irrelevant, I urge the majority of Jews who are leaving any connection to Judaism or Israel to wake up now and find some positive defence of Jews who may appear to have nothing in common but in reality need each other's recognition and support. 
Taking Caroline's article to the next level, I would advocate that in order to get Israel's supreme court back to order, they need to include one or more Haredi, wise, spiritual leaders. If we can have Islamic enemies of the state in the Knesset why not have a real Jewish leader in the judiciary?