IDF and Union of Hesder Yeshivas reach agreement at conference.
By YAAKOV KATZ
The IDF and the Union of Hesder Yeshivas have agreed that yeshiva students will volunteer in the Home Front Command in the event of a war or major natural disaster.Last week, the IDF held a conference with the hesder union, during which it was decided that students at hesder yeshivas who have not yet performed their military service will serve as Home Front Command volunteers in the event of an emergency, such as a war or earthquake.Students who have already done their military service would likely be called up for active duty in the event of a war.The hesder program, (hesder means “arrangement”) was created in 1953 to accommodate soldiers who wish to combine Torah studies with military service. The five-year program consists of three-and-a-half years of study and about 18 months of army duty. Most students are drafted into the army a year or two into the program.“Hesder yeshiva students are quality youth who are prepared to contribute whenever they can,” said Eitan Ozeri, head of the Union of Hesder Yeshivas.About 30 yeshivas sent representatives to the conference last week and the IDF estimates that in the event of a war hundreds of students will join the Home Front Command to help the civilian population.During Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter, several hundred students were mobilized and helped the Home Front Command open and maintain bomb shelters, escort children to school and patrol near commercial centers.
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