Yair Lapid at Kiryat Ono – The Transcript

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62 Responses

  1. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Thanks for posting this and the video. This speech was a huge catalyst in helping me ultimately to decide to vote for his party.

  2. Chaim Saiman says:

    Thank you for posting. Respectful, balanced and challenging. An good opening bid of the ‘grown up” conversation everyone keeps on saying we need to have.

  3. Baruch Dov says:

    In case there was still any doubt, this speech might be the proof that Yair is not his father. He is not hostile, angry and malicious. He is a pragmatist, whose goal is not to humiliate and ruin the charedim but to address a serious problem in a way that benefits everybody.

  4. Chana says:

    I found the approach he utilized rather condescending, so that was slightly off-putting, but still- he’s a very charismatic speaker (I watched the video) and this was a very very powerful speech.

    Of course, it’s wishful thinking to believe that the Chareidim as a whole will ever find the secular less threatening. Reacting/defending against the influence of secularity IS the Chareidi ethos at this point.

    Nonetheless, I think it’s becoming more and more likely that the Chareidim will splinter into two groups, one that is less threatened by the secular, as per this speech, thus willing to get a higher education and enter the work world, let alone listen to Yair Lapid speak, and one group that will find this speech, and its mere suggestion that anything can “break down the Hareidi ghettos” a greater threat, and stronger reason for insulation and isolation, than ever before.

    [YA – Your analysis may be correct, but I would like to throw in a different way of looking at it. The Charedi mission statement is the continuity of Torah. Defending against secular values is a tactic, but does not define the war. In time, one way or another, some practices will change as they become unsustainable. What will remain is a community of hundreds of thousands who will remain faithful to halacha in its fullness. They will be, numerically, the most significant guarantors of a Jewish future. The only questions are how long it will take to change, and how many korbanos there will be in the meantime. Your two groups really represent two answers to those questions.]

  5. mike m says:

    Thank R”A for publishing the translation of this excellent and insightful speech. Speaking as an American Jew I have to admit to being embarrassed by our current crop of American politicians and media who are unable to communicate a message that is this honest. Why is it that we have lost the ability to communicate with each other this effectively ? Is this a product of the Israeli democracy and the Jewish “we are one big loony family” culture? Do we have to make Aliyah to participate in a vibrant democracy ?

  6. lacosta says:

    the content is so awesomely true, that the hareili community will probably run away from the achrayaus and personal hishtadlus that is mandated…and what a glorious future it could be… given that maybe 10’s of thousands of hassidim would not opt for a 21st century approach , but if yeshivish people can do it in chu’l , then kal vachomer in the land where the avira is machkim….

  7. Yisroel says:

    He’s missing or ignoring the main if not the only reason of this monumental “win”, which is, precisely the insularity he speaks of and admonishes the Haredim for.
    Acknowledging the existence of Hashem without accepting and submitting to a Torah and halachicaly-dictated lifestyle is exposing this speech into being anything but a last ditch effort of the “fox calling the fish out of the water” [a.k.a. Rabbi Akiva’s parable Berachos 61a] to break down the barrier that has sustained the survival of authentic Judaism in modern day Eretz Yisroel. The battle is far from over and the call of camaraderie is anything but benign.

  8. David F. says:

    There are many points that Mr. Lapid makes that I can agree with, but most likely not for his stated reasons.

    1 – I find it rather humorous that he decided that the Chareidim have “won.” Not by a long stretch. What they’ve managed to do is survive, which was not expected of them. They’ve hardly won control of the state.

    2 – When the secular elites were running the country and doing as they wished, there was never much thought of the “other.” This is true when the “other” was a poor Yemenite, Sfardi, or Chareidi. It didn’t matter. No one counted much if he wasn’t part of the secular elite. Suddenly, the “other” has risen up and wrested some of the control and whaddya know, the secular elites demand that we all play fair. Not a terribly impressive argument to anyone who remembers back fifty years.

    3 – “This victory enables you to be first class citizens, not second class citizens” – Charedim are still second class citizens regardless of how Mr. Lapid spins it. There may some good reasons for that, but let’s not pretend it’s not that way. I felt it all the time when I lived there and I still feel it when I return, which is quite often.

    Like I said – there is much that I agree with in principle, but לא מטעמיה.

  9. cvmay says:

    Over a month ago, Ruth Lichtenstein, the editor of Hamodia in an editorical quoted from Yair Lapid’s speech asking the readers for a response. “Now that we are the victors, what can/should we do in the realm of responsibility?” There has never been any printed feedback or continued discussion on this seminal(IMHO)piece.
    With Israeli elections over, perhaps some serious discussion will initiate in Israel. Yet with sorrow, I believe that the Chardei world feeling strong hatred and hostility is going to move for further isolation and ‘backlash’ with additional chumras in fear of rise of the modern-thinking & behavior of the majority of voters.

  10. joel rich says:

    I asked in the earlier post:

    “and the question is, what is the chareidi response? A cage match or accomodation? The answer must become clear sooner or later.”

    Here is at least one answer:
    [If the government tries to pass a draft law for haredim] there will be a disengagement from the country , and the process that has begun of haredim integrating into the army and the workplace will be reversed. Lapid’s goal will not be achieved, but the exact opposite will happen and the haredi public will go back to closing itself up. Once and for all we will show that they cannot force their anti-religious policy on the haredi public. And, if we survived Pharoah, and Meretz with Shulamit Aloni and Tommy Lapid, we will survive Yair Lapid as well.

    — Menachem Kulitz, haredi journalist (he runs the media operation called Kav Itonut Haredit)

    KT

  11. Binyomin Eckstein says:

    Yair Lapid is not entirely correct. His view of Israeli reality as a zero-sum game, i.e., if Lapid lost, that means the Charedim must have won, is not true. Lapid, or the worldview his represents, merely lost in its bid to make the Charedim lose.

    The perception of the Charedim is that he is trying to regain the upper hand by artificially accelerating what needs to be a process, one that is in fact already in progress, as anyone with eyes in his head can see. History shows that drastic changes, including a swinging open of the ghetto’s doors, can easily cause mass confusion and loss of identity. And Lapid need look no further than his own history lesson for proof of this. In fact, he might do well to consider a point lacking in his speech: reflection on what brought about his defeat. He might consider that premature artificial acceleration of processes is a very big part of the reason he lost…

  12. Danny Rosenberg says:

    Yair Lapid is a clever fellow. By framing his speech as though Charedim won and secularists lost he uses a rhetorical device to disarm and mollify Charedim. He is basically saying he knows Charedim better than they know themselves and he also knows what is in their best interests. Such a patronizing and paternalistic approach is belittling and offensive. He argues that as winners, Charedim must broaden their responsibilities for the good of society and not be so heavy handed in forcing their views on others. However, secularists, as the previous winners, had for decades imposed their worldview on the broader society and not always for the good. The fallacy in Lapid’s position is that there are no mutually exclusive winners and losers. Secularists and Charedim must cooperate to find a common path that advances responsibility and the good for all and this indeed is happening, perhaps slower than some would like, but it is occurring. That Lapid’s speech insists on supererogatory responsibility only for Charedim demonstrates his contempt for them and shows him to be a sore and prejudicial loser.

  13. Sarah Elias says:

    I was unimpressed by the speech and wondering why all the huzzahs. I heard nothing more than, “you won the race, now live as I tell you.” What’s to cheer in that?

  14. Shmuel says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein — you wrote “The Charedi mission statement is the continuity of Torah. Defending against secular values is a tactic, but does not define the war.” Sometimes the tactic seems to be applied so vigorously and indiscriminately that it actually doesn’t advance the cause of the “war” and even hurts it. I tried to make a similar point regarding your response to Dr. Finkleman –one has to think long and hard about the value of “loyalty” to Torah if the way the loyalty is expressed distorts or obscures Torah itself. I am not making a political point, but I think this is a crucial issue.

    [YA – I do not disagree. Please do not confuse my answers to Dr Finkelman as a broad endorsement of the policies behind those arguments.]

  15. Shlomo says:

    Why don’t charedim address the question of what they will do if they ever become the majority. Will they allow the secularists or the Modern Orthodox to live freely, with their own schools and way of life, or will they turn the country into a Jewish version of Iran?

  16. L. Oberstein says:

    I just returned from 2 weeks in Israel where I got to experience the election and talk to a lot of people. I found that many religious Jews voted for Yesh Atid, more than for Bayit Yehudi of the ones I met. Many Religious Zionists were unhappy that so many Settler extremists were on their list and some told me they voted for Likud so he would have a strong government and not be at the mercy of interest groups. I met one person, an American doctor in Ramat Beit Shemesh who honestly believed he was going G-d’s will by voting for Gimmel( Yahadut Hatorah) but most that I met there were voting for either Bayit Yehudi or Otzma.The call for Shivyon Banetel- Equality of responsibility i.e. chareidim should join the economy and do either army or national service was vehemently felt by almost everyone I talked to. I wonder if the Chareidim realize that their attitude is so off putting. I got so personally hurt when I read in Hamodia that those who vote against Gimmel are voting against G-d and His Torah. Who are they to write off the rest of the frum world? How can Hamodia write in the Monday edition that this is a battle against “Mesanei Hashem”. My Hebrew grammer leads me to think that that is worse than “sonei”, it means they make others hate Hashem. How awful to write such a thing.
    I am a card carrying member of Agudath Israel of America and Rabbi Moshe Sherer was a mentor who flew to my wedding. I can’t imagine him or Rav Ruderman ever saying such hateful things, calling the whole country enemies of G-d, chas veshalom.

  17. joel rich says:

    I heard nothing more than, “you won the race, now live as I tell you.” What’s to cheer in that?

    =========================================

    Perhaps you might articulate your vision of how in the natural order of things (i.e. no “and then a miracle occurs”), the State of Israel and its citizens should deal with each other. How do you see avoiding increasing tension between the chareidi and non-chareidi sectors and the likely results? Perhaps an outline of a speech to be given by a chareidi leader to a secular group would be a good starting point. Also comments on specific issues you have with the positions outlined by Mr. Lapid and constructive alternatives would be of interest.
    KT

  18. YM says:

    It is ironic that Mr. Lapid on one hand requests that the Haredim step up and participate in the State, and on the other hand he reportedly refuses to sit in a government with UTJ or Shas.

  19. Baruch Gitlin says:

    The way I read/hear Lapid’s speech, his main point is that the haredim have “won” in the sense that they have built up a community and a communal infrastructure that can withstand the challenges of survival in an essentially secular world and, specifically, an essentially secular state. Because of this, he is urging them to change their self perception from that of a minority group struggling to negotiate its survival to that of an integral part of the State of Israel, with the same set of rights and responsibilities as the rest of the state, including the responsibility to contribute to the national defense and the national economy.

    In response to YM’s comment, I do not think Lapid is refusing to sit with anybody, but he is insisting on conditions that UTJ and Shas may not wish to accept. If UTJ and Shas accept the challenge he is articulating, namely, to agree on a system in which the yeshiva students they claim to represent accept the same obligation as other citizens to share the risks and the sacrifice of several years of their lives in contributing to the national defense, I am sure he would be quite pleased to sit with them in the same government. I think there is room for compromise on this issue, but to date, I have not heard any representative of UTJ or Shas articulate a proposal that would not retain the absolute right of any yeshiva student to avoid the draft, a right other Israeli citizens do not have. Even in the case of the Arabs, the decision not to enlist is not a right that the individual can exercise, but rather, a decision made by the army in light of its own perceived needs.

    To look at this in another way, both the inclusion of the haredi parties in the government and the draft issue can be seen as two sides of the same coin, in response to the question I think Lapid is posing: Is the haredi community in Israel a full participant in the life of the state, or isn’t it? If the answer on the draft is no, I’m not sure why the answer on participation in the government should be yes.

  20. joel rich says:

    r’ym,
    Amazing? If my quote above from r’Menachem Kulitz is representative, it sounds like tough love to me.
    KT

  21. dovid2 says:

    “I got so personally hurt when I read in Hamodia that those who vote against Gimmel are voting against G-d and His Torah. Who are they to write off the rest of the frum world? “
    “This speech was a huge catalyst in helping me ultimately to decide to vote for his party.”

    Two quotes from above commentators. One view. Yair Lapid was crowned the new messiah, until he follows his dad in the trash bin of history. Listen both to his words and watch his body language. He concedes to the obvious that we gained tremendous strength since WWII despite the odds and the many naysayers. I think, deep down, he is sorry we didn’t end up as museum items and endangered species displayed in the safari. As to our victory, tell me what / who would stop an Israeli police officer from beating me or you to the pulp for no reason, and walk away scot free? It may even earn him a promotion to the position of Jerusalem District Commander. By the way, is Yair Lapid on record for protesting the appointment of Niso Shaham to the position of Jerusalem District Police Commander?

    Rabbotai, we have leaders. We know who they are and what they stand for. They instructed us to vote “gimmel”. Their call was Moshe Rabbeinu’s call to us in a similar time of confusion: Mi le’HaShem, elai! For those who argue that Rabbi Steinman is no Moshe Rabbeinu, the psukim clearly tell us that the leaders of the time are Moshe Rabbeinu’s equivalent. That’s why we may have it no other way.

    With regards to Yair Lapid, you may love him for his smooth talk and for his not coming out against the charedim with the hatred and venom that his dad was known for. I think if one had the time, one could peel away Lapid’s friendly overture and proofs. One of them is the statistic he quoted regarding dropout rates at the Jerusalem College for Technology which shows that the dropout rate among female students is approx. 5% while that of male students is around 50%. He (or the professor) attributed the difference to the fact that female students were well grounded in secular studies from their years in high school while male students who had no comparable exposure. Therefore, their theory is that male students cannot bring themselves up to the required level, notwithstanding their sharp mental prowess because no background in math and English. A crucial fact Lapid didn’t mention is that female students in the sample typically are singles in the 18-20 year age group, while male students are married individuals, with several kids, in the 26-30 year age group. A female student accepted into the program has a different set of responsibilities and a different time frame than a male student. I do think that with a better understanding of the causes for the high dropout rate of male students, the issue can be addressed in an honest fashion, without the interference and the agenda of smooth politicians.

  22. Daniel says:

    Yes, I loved this speech when I watched it.

    Then I remembered that I also loved reading Obama’s Audacity of Hope, and he sounded truly terrific before he was president also. I think this guy is the same way, and it is really in the same vein.

  23. joel rich says:

    kudos to r’dovid2 on this statement – “Rabbotai, we have leaders. We know who they are and what they stand for. They instructed us to vote “gimmel”. Their call was Moshe Rabbeinu’s call to us in a similar time of confusion: Mi le’HaShem, elai! For those who argue that Rabbi Steinman is no Moshe Rabbeinu, the psukim clearly tell us that the leaders of the time are Moshe Rabbeinu’s equivalent. That’s why we may have it no other way” If someone lives his life by this strong form of daat torah, then at least they have a consistent worldview.

    But please remember that if one picks and chooses when to listen(e.g. whom to vote for but not whether to use the internet), imho, they get the worst of both worlds.
    KT

  24. Dovid Kornreich says:

    Excuse the long citation, but these paragraphs at the very center of the speech epitomize what I admire and loathe about his presentation.

    “And that leads me to the second reason why we lost and you won: the spiritual reason. When the Zionist fathers came to Israel they said they wanted to build a melting pot for the Jews, and they truly looked for a broad base of agreement between the different sectors. They ignored the fact that the Jewish people already had such a base. Because the Jewish people had a Father. They wanted to build a secular, socialist melting pot and ignored the fact that the Jews had an ancient Father who had maintained and protected them for 2,000 years, and this ancient Father of course is the God of Israel.

    I want to emphasize that I’m not talking about faith, because faith is something else, I’m talking about the question: What is the societal and cultural foundation of the Israeli ethos?…

    …So in order to establish this Biblical ethos they decided to skip over the Mishnah and the Midrash and the Talmud and the Golden Age of Spain and the Ramhal and the Hatam Sofer, as well as Bashevis Singer and Shalom Aleichem and Rabbi Nachman of Breslav. And instead of a multi-dimensional, multi-sectoral vision that could include all the different types of Jews, they created an ethos that suited secular Ashkenazi socialists and they wanted all the other tribes to submit to this ethos. This wasn’t done out of malice or stupidity, it was… secular thinking. The founding fathers’ way of thinking was: If God hasn’t brought the Jews to Israel in 2,000 years, it’s time to let someone else try, it’s time to create a new myth. And when the Holocaust came they saw it as proof that you can’t rely on the God of the Jews because he’s an unreliable father, we can only rely on ourselves.

    So we tried to rely only on ourselves, but our attempt failed. If failed because it caused everyone who wasn’t secular, Ashkenazi and socialist to withdraw even more into his tribe, especially when he realized that the vision he was being offered had no room for what was most precious to him – his God. And it failed even more because the founding fathers’ explanation was… unsatisfactory. It didn’t justify our being here. Because if we take our ancient Father out of the picture, what are we doing here? Why would a secular person choose to live in the worst neighborhood in the world, among a billion Muslems who hate him, in this heat, if he doesn’t believe in an external power that makes it worth living here. We realized that this was a problem in 1967, just after the Six-Day War.

    Most of this is refreshing and I deeply admire his honesty in recognizing the ideological arrogance and ideological failure of secular zionism. But he still tries to airbrush and shy away from some rather uncomfortable facts.

    He refuses to openly acknowledge that it wasn’t just as if the secular Ashkenazi establishment “ignored” the pre-existing Father, and it was’t just as if was there “no room” made by the establishment for the religious G-d centered world-view. No sir.

    The secular Zionists actively and ruthlessly wrested political power from the Old Yishuv in order to make themselves “the mainstream establishment”. They made themselves the establishment by actively and ruthlessly employing propaganda and blocked religious immigration before and during WWII. Then they actively and ruthlessly uprooted “our Ancient Father” out of the hearts of all new immigrants for a full decade since the founding of the State.

    Until the secular establishment owns up to their systematic attempts to usurp the political power of the religious Old Yishuv and uproot Yiddishkeit from the sefardi immigrants, the anti-zionist religious camp and the sephardim will never forgive and forget and move on to try to heal the deep wounds of Israeli society.

  25. Charlie Hall says:

    It is nice to hear a politician call for citizenry to contribute to their country rather than promise benefits. I’m reminded of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address: “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

    Judaism is not about rights and benefits, it is about responsibilities and contribution. The supposedly secular Yair Lapid has gotten this better than the many religious politicians whose main goal has been to obtain government benefits for their communities.

  26. Tal Benschar says:

    “With regards to Yair Lapid, you may love him for his smooth talk”

    Personally, I am always turned off by smooth-talkers. The Dersahos HaRan writes that the reason Hashem chose Moshe, who was kevad peh (probably a stutterer, or one who does not speak well) is that had Hashem chosen someone with a glib tongue, then later generations would say that Bnei Yisrael accepted the Torah only because they were conned by a talented speaker. That instead the Torah was given by someone who was not a gifted speaker is evidence that they really did see Hashem and receive the Torah.

  27. micha says:

    (Prior submission had typoes.)

    Danny Rosenberg wrote on 1/29 at 2:39am: Yair Lapid is a clever fellow. By framing his speech as though Charedim won and secularists lost he uses a rhetorical device to disarm and mollify Charedim. He is basically saying he knows Charedim better than they know themselves and he also knows what is in their best interests.

    I had a similar but different impression. He is saying that Chareidim won the culture war in order to get them to “put down their arms” and stop fighting his camp, to join in the project of building the State. In a sense, he is trying to win the next round through that disarming you write of. But not that he is telling Chareidim their best interest.

    RYA appended to Chana’s comment of 1/27 at 11:20 am: Your analysis may be correct, but I would like to throw in a different way of looking at it. The Charedi mission statement is the continuity of Torah. Defending against secular values is a tactic, but does not define the war. In time, one way or another, some practices will change as they become unsustainable.

    What differentiates Chareidim from other shomerei Torah umitzvos? All of them want the continuity of Torah. What makes a Chareidi a Chareidi is the use of the isolationist tactic to deal with the threats of the modern age. Modern Orthodoxy suffers the damages caused by the flaws of the age feeling that the sacred life mandates such an encounter, even given the problems. The Religious Zionist is similar, except that he is choosing to encounter Zionism and the Jewish State as a gift from G-d rather than Yefet’s culture as part of a dreak to sanctify olam hazeh.

    In other words, in comparison to other Torah Jews, what defines being Chareidi is the very thing you’re dismissing as mere tactic.

    Given that I see this “tactic” as in reality a defining feature of the “derekh” (Torah-advancing Ism), I would rephrase your last point: I agree that as time goes on, derakhim (Torah-based Isms) evolve, lose or gain following, as they prove to be more or less effective ways of dealing with the realities of the age. But if they change too much, as per Lapid’s urging, I don’t think the resulting community will be Chareidi in the current sense of the word.

    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2013/01/25/yair-lapid-at-kiryat-ono-the-transcript/#ixzz2JZdrQXmy
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  28. dovid2 says:

    KT: “… if one picks and chooses when to listen(e.g. whom to vote for but not whether to use the internet), imho, they get the worst of both worlds.”

    KT, do you blush every time you open a Chumash or Gemara? Why not? With the advent of the printing press, for every page of Torah that was printed, tens, maybe hundreds of pages of k’firah and salcious material were printed. Man has this proclivity of putting wonderful discoveries and tools to nefarious uses. Printing press, TV, Internet, etc.

    Rabbanim in America and Eretz Israel understand that many Yiden’s parnassa depends on access and use of the Internet. It’s an unfortunate and a be’dieved situation. In order to protect our integrity as loyal, charedi Jews, they required the installation of an effective filter, in addition to having a rav pasken that the particular person indeed needs access to Internet. They named Nativ as the only acceptable filter al pi halacha (this was about 13 months ago. since then, they may have approved other filters as well.) because it’s based on the white list concept in which the Internet user submits a list of sites he needs to access, besides the fact that all photos are blocked. Thus, one can access only those sites among the ones he requested that Nativ deems acceptable. CC won’t let me provide the link, but you can google the word Nativ and go into the “haskamot” tab. You’ll find R’ Eliyashev, R’ Steinman, R’ Wosner, R’ Kanievsky confirming the above. All the big guns.

    Even in the above circumstances, the use of the Internet is be’dieved. There was no justification affilu be’dieved to vote for Yair Lapid or Naftali Bennett.

  29. L. Oberstein says:

    dovid2 is entitled to believe that it is G-d’s will to vote for a specific party-Gimmel.
    I am a card carrying memeber of the Agudath israel of America and my rosh hayeshiva was a member of the Moetzes and rabbi Sherer was mekarev me and I worked under Rabbi neuberger/ None of them ever used the coarse invective and dimunition of those who disagreed with them that I read in the press of Gimmel. There are 39 chavrei Knesset who are shomrei torah umitzvos, only 7 of them are from Gimmel. It isn’t a secret that the Israeli Chareidi party is full of back biting, petty politics and is unresponsive to its own voters. It is a closed clique that only recognizes olim from America or Chzrim beteshuva at election time, neither could get any position in the party. It is hard for me to understand how our righteous Gedolim can stand aside when their representatives are so fractious, unless you also realize that they are also divided. Why are there two political parties Aguah and Degel? If they can’t be one party, then which is the real party of Hashem? In short, don’t iinsult the Torah by saying that these people have a monopoly on truth . The Gedolim are not the issue, it is the political hacks who use them who are the problem. Why do so many chareidim not vote for Gimmel? Could it be that they are disgusted with “their” party. Why can’t there be open primaries and let the people pick their representative. They would all be people who would follow the Moetzes, but not be mere puppets. Since the truth is they are pullng the strings, the whole thing is upside down.

  30. micha says:

    L. Oberstein wrote on 1/29 at 7:23 pm: …I got so personally hurt when I read in Hamodia that those who vote against Gimmel are voting against G-d and His Torah. Who are they to write off the rest of the frum world? How can Hamodia write in the Monday edition that this is a battle against “Mesanei Hashem”.

    I also saw many posters around Y-m about an obligation to vote gimel in order to save the Torah. I too was offended by this assumption that this is a campaign against the Torah, rather than taking the opposition at face value. Someone who invests years in the army plus repeatedly interrupting his life for reserves, parents who worry at night how their children are doing, don’t need invented subtexts to why they feel anger toward those who don’t share the burden or the risk. The gov’t was willing to construct proposals and accommodations to mitigate risk. (And how weak is chareidi chinukh that they are afraid of masses going of the derekh if they were to put in two years of Nahal Haredi or some kind of Hesder Haredi?)

    (And I can make an easy argument that wars of survival are milkhamos mitzvah, and Americans not sending our boys to Israel to serve is against halakhah. For that matter, “even a kallah from her chupah” is obligated to be a “jobnick” [support services, in modern-Israeli military slang] as needed.)

    Those who pay half their income to taxes aren’t out to get the Torah when they campaign to get able bodied men off the dole. Most Israeli families are two-income.

    So, they are at logger-heads with you. But son’ei Hashem? A campaign aimed at destroying the Torah? My LOR back in Passaic, where none of us share the burden of the military, compared the suggested replacements for the Tal Law to the Cantonists, drafted for 20-25 years under the Czars to be Russified! Those claims are nothing more than sin’as chinam. (It also is counterproductive on a tactical level to argue against a position that isn’t actually what the opposition holds.)

    But what’s personally hurtful is this notion that if they had to do things the way the Religious Zionists do, the Torah would be gone. Aren’t these the same people who stood in Mercaz haRav in the days after the shooting and asserted that “a bachur learning gemara is a bachur learning gemara”?

    I see “if, CV, this latest gezeira of giyus [the draft]”, and I think of the hesdernikim back in KBY when I learned there, and those whose who left behind names on the plaque in the corner of the beis medrash. The boys who took their gemaras to the front so that their peers in Mir, Ponovezh, Chevron and Brisk could sit in safety in their batei medrash.

    In 1982, when Yehudah Katz received his call up orders to Lebanon, they came to the beis medrash to deliver the message. They knew in the office where to go, because everyone in KBY knew there was only one place you could find him. (As I was told when I got to KBY the following year.) Yehudah left his chavruasah and went north. And there was the Battle pf Sultan Yacoub, and he’s been MIA since — 30-1/2 years.

    Zecharia Baumel was learning in Yeshivat Har Etzion (“Gush”) 30-1/2 years ago.

    Somehow, serving in the IDF and hasmadah CAN be combined. It’s the chareidi nature of the community at risk. The Torah is far more robust than that.

  31. joel rich says:

    KT, do you blush every time you open a Chumash or Gemara? Why not? With the advent of the printing press, for every page of Torah that was printed, tens, maybe hundreds of pages of k’firah and salcious material were printed. Man has this proclivity of putting wonderful discoveries and tools to nefarious uses. Printing press, TV, Internet, etc.

    =====================================
    KT=kol tuv (my name appears above)

    Actually I should for everything but the chumash since it is a reminder of the bdieved world we live in where r”L the oral law had to be written down. “nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so”-I thank hkb”h that if we have to live for now in a bdieved world he has given us technological force multipliers that within my lifetime have exponentially improved my learning and teaching ability.

    My internet example was purely that, I meant that one who believes in the strong form of daat torah enough to vote on its basis, should not decide on their own to follow another daat torah

    I love this quote from R’ Eisenmam of Passaic in his “short vort”-“. He
    asked me what I thought about the approach. I told him that I am not a
    business person- (although it never ceases to amaze me how many people
    seek advice from me on many subjects which I have no expertise in) –
    however, I will hear him out.”

    KT

  32. dovid2 says:

    “dovid2 is entitled to believe that it is G-d’s will to vote for a specific party-Gimmel.”

    dovid2 is not entitled. He is under chiuv to vote as instructed by the acknowledged gadol hador, just as you, as well as your rosh hayeshiva, Rabbi Sherer, Rabbi Neuberger, and all those other names who flew to your chatuna would be if you or they lived in EY.

    As to the quality of the gimmel list, take your concerns, however legitimate they may be, to the same gadol hador who instructed us to vote for this list.

    Now, suppose gimmel was as bad as you described. Do you expect Yair Lapid or Naftali Bennett to rescue Israel and the Torah world? You are like one of the commentators above who four years ago voted for Obama even though we all knew what Obama stood for and that Obama was bad for Israel. Last year, the same individual bothered to inform us he didn’t vote for Obama. What changed in his calculus? Did Obama become worse? No. Onlty that his son moved to EY and is serving in the IDF.

  33. dovid2 says:

    Micha: “I too was offended by this assumption that this is a campaign against the Torah, rather than taking the opposition at face value. Someone who invests years in the army plus repeatedly interrupting his life for reserves, parents who worry at night how their children are doing, don’t need invented subtexts to why they feel anger toward those who don’t share the burden or the risk.”

    Acc. to you, Arik Sharon, Ezer Weitzman, Ehud Barak should also make the list, but not Yair Lapid who did much of his obligatory army service as a reporter for ‘BaMahane’, the army’s magazine.

  34. dovid2 says:

    Micha writes: “(And how weak is chareidi chinukh that they are afraid of masses going of the derekh if they were to put in two years of Nahal Haredi or some kind of Hesder Haredi?)”

    With all due respect to the hesder yeshivot(I mean it in the full sense of the words), how many of the youth from the national religious camp threw away kipa, mesora, and the rest after joining the army? Quite a few. Did they teach you in your yeshiva: Al taamim be’atzmecha ad yom motach? This exhortation was not meant only the tzaddikim. It was meant especially for you and me.

    Micha writes: “The boys who took their gemaras to the front so that their peers in Mir, Ponovezh, Chevron and Brisk could sit in safety in their batei medrash.”

    No sir. They went to fight for you, and me, and for the rest of us, and for themselves, just as the talmidim of Mir, Ponovezh, Chevron and Brisk learn also for you and me and for the rest of us. (Discloser: I am not an alumnus of any of these yeshivot or other mosdot of comparable caliber.) The value of the mesirat nefesh and mesirat guf of the hesder bachurim and that of the secular Jews for the defense of Israel is beyond my ability to define. All I can do at my age is to daven and say tehilim every day for our boys in uniform. Af al pi ken, their sacrifice or willing to sacrifice does not qualify them, in and by itself, does not qualify them to be manhigim of the k’lal.

    Micha writes: “A campaign aimed at destroying the Torah? My LOR back in Passaic, where none of us share the burden of the military, compared the suggested replacements for the Tal Law to the Cantonists, drafted for 20-25 years under the Czars to be Russified! Those claims are nothing more than sin’as chinam.”

    Ell Yishai said it right: The army doesn’t want them. If he marched with 500, strongly built yeshiva bachurim to the draft center in Tel Hashomer, they wouldn’t know what to do with them. The army has no room for them in Nachal Haredi, and has no funds to set up a comparable unit. All Lapid is doing, like any other politician, is to ride the wave of popular discontent to his advantage. These politicians’ agenda, like that of the mityavnim and the maskilim before them is to pull the bachurim out of the beit midrash.

    Micha writes: “Somehow, serving in the IDF and hasmadah CAN be combined. It’s the chareidi nature of the community at risk. The Torah is far more robust than that.”

    If observance of halacha disqualifies a cadet from the officers’ course, if the Ehud Baraks of the world call the shots, if Naftali Bennett wants to become minister of Religious Affairs and regulate relgious life in EY, then than your Torah and mine are not the same.

    I would like to propose to you and all the enthusiastic supporters that of Yair Lapid and his ilk to renew this discussion two years from now. I believe, even you will see that your messiah “has not clothes”.

  35. dovid2 says:

    “Why do so many chareidim not vote for Gimmel?”

    May I humbly suggest that you look up Rashi’s first perush on the word “chamushim” in last week’s sedrah? They were all frum, more than you and me, but 80% vanished because they thought they know better than Moshe Rabbeinu.

  36. Ari Heitner says:

    Micha wrote:

    Someone who invests years in the army plus repeatedly interrupting his life for reserves, parents who worry at night how their children are doing, don’t need invented subtexts to why they feel anger toward those who don’t share the burden or the risk
    […]
    And I can make an easy argument that wars of survival are milkhamos mitzvah, and Americans not sending our boys to Israel to serve is against halakhah. For that matter, “even a kallah from her chupah” is obligated to be a “jobnick” [support services, in modern-Israeli military slang] as needed

    Do you think the chareidi-bashing public would be satisfied with 20k yeshiva bochur jobnikim? Wouldn’t they just say, “Look, even in the army they don’t pull their own weight!”

    But more importantly, if there are enough people willing to volunteer for combat units (do you know how competitive it is to get into a combat unit?), should all these boys leave learning in order to be jobniks? Did the IDF spokeperson say they have a shortage of potato peelers and truck drivers? That’s for sure a good שמירה…

    אין מבטלין תלמוד תורה למצוה שאפשר לעשותה ע”י אחרים – עיין ספר התניא ח”א פכ”ג ופל”ז וכולי

    Don’t get me wrong; the מסירות נפש of those who volunteer to put themselves in danger is an unbelievable מצוה and they deserve our הכרת הטוב and beyond. But is this really about filling a defense need? Is it really about getting chareidim to contribute something the society needs at all? Or is it about putting them through the army melting-pot that takes individuals and casts them a new identity as Israelis?

  37. DF says:

    The words “won” and “lost” are confusing a lot of readers, I see. Lapid’s point is only that the Charedim are part of the fabric of the country, and won’t be treated as second-class citizens. (That’s all he means by, “won”.) As such, they cannot continue to ask for exemptions and special assistance as though they were a unique group which the mainstream can afford to throw some political plums too. They ARE the mainstream.

    Lapid’s speech can easily by applied to all the other victim industry groups in America. Black Amricans, for example, depend on countless affirmative action programs embedded in any corporation that wishes to obtain government contracts (ie, almost any decent sized company.) Via Title VII, women are considered a minority, with all the privileges thereunto pertaining, even though they are actually the majority. It is only a matter of time before Lapid’s point, that the “mainstream” – white men, essentially – will say “I’m sick of everyone demanding things of me, From now on, I’m a tribe too.” will become true. Sadly, no politician in America has the courage to say what Lapid just said.

  38. Dina says:

    Okay, here we go, the different between culture and religion, cultural victory and religious victory, and why the world Yair Lapid dreams of is a world where we’ve lost.

    First let me be clear. I think charedim should be more responsible members of society. And that includes being fiscally responsible, and sharing the burden of national defense. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, lets discuss where Yair Lapid and I differ.

    Yair Lapid views Judaism and Israel as a cultural institution. This is of course the mainstream secular opinion, which won massive victories in America where Judaism is eating bagels and having a Hanukkah bush (and where the Judaism of the next generation is… Well, there isn’t. Judaism ceases to be relevant to their identity whatsoever)

    The victory he ascribes to us, similarly, is a cultural victory. Woe to the secularists, for they have been forced to acknowledge the existence of Rashi and Isaac Bashevis Singer in the Jewish identity!

    Of course this is untrue. Secularists always acknowledged rashi and IBS, just like yair Lapid does, on the same level of relevance, important cultural artifacts. You learn rashi as an intellectually enlightening cultural exercise to broaden your worldview.

    Yair Lapid has an allergy to religion. He prefers to refer to God as Father because he prefers him to be warm, fuzzy, and non-obligatory. He repeatedly insists he’s not talking about religion but about culture.

    Because culture we can compromise on. We can be “multi-cultural”. We can live and let live.

    Yair Lapid dreams of a world minus charedi ghettos, where we can live side by side and I don’t need to worry about his kids influencing mine and he doesn’t need to worry about:

    my kids causing his kids to be chozer b’tshuva. (That’s the Hebrew he used, and I prefer it over “proselytizing”)

    But see, that is where Yair Lapid and I must differ.

    I am not a secular humanistic multicultural blob. I am a religious Jew. And he is entirely right that this makes me less democratic than he is. Because I think his kids shouldn’t be eating chametz on pesach or pork whenever. And I am not willing to live and let live on this point. And I am not willing to build the world that he envisions.

    Maybe the secularists have given up on their dream if a world sans religious Jews. And now they must settle, miserably, reluctantly, for a world in which we exist.

    But just because they are unhappy about doing this doesnt give them the right to impose that we do the same.

    So you lost, huh? And now you have to resign yourselves to our existing? That’s what losers have to do. But you’re getting confused and think that’s what winners have to do. We don’t need to resign ourselves to your existing. In the Mexican standoff we still believe you will disappear with time.

    I believe we need to take a responsible role but see, you probably don’t want the world I envision. The one where its no problem for charedim to join the army because their commanders don’t (unintentionally) order them to violate Shabbos, because their commanders are ALL religious and well-versed in all the relevant halachos. Because not just nachal but every army unit has time set aside for prayers and Torah study. And instead of soldiers getting slapped with charges of insubordination for leaving an event with women singing, it will be understood– not the halachic debate if whether the signing was assur, but the fundamental issue that the army is not a culture factory and its role is not to mould you to a certain Israeli mindset, lifestyle, and culture. And instead of the hubris and arrogance of commanders speaking as if tzahal alone protects Israel— like the pilot of the Iraqi core bombing saying that they got in and out unharmed via “luck”– it will be understood that we fight because it is our responsibility and duty and mitzvah, and it is Hashem who wins our wars.

    There’s a lot on which we agree, Yair Lapid and I, by only on the outer level. At the core, we are different, and irreconcilably so.

  39. David F. says:

    DF,

    What many have forgotten is that the Chareidim contribute to the country in many ways that the secular do not. Yet little is heard about their contributions which are numerous. Here’s a short list:

    1 – Demographically – It’s no secret that secular Israelis are not bearing children at a replacement rate, let alone growing the population. The threat that Arabs may one day outnumber Jews and render the state an Arab state is possibly a greater threat than any terrorist attack. The Chareidi birthrate is one of the only reasons this problem isn’t greater than it is.

    2 – Economically – The Chareidi infrastructure of Yeshivos and seminaries etc. is greatly responsible for many of the US dollars that make their way into Israel. Thousands of young men and women attending yeshiva and seminary contributes greatly to the economy. It also contributes to the tourism dollars that flow in from parents visiting and spending freely.

    3 – While many Chareidim do not officially work and earn, it’s no secret that many do so unofficially. It may not be legal, but it’s very real and contributes significantly to the economy.

    4 – Chessed Organizations – The number of Chareidi chessed organizations dwarfs those introduced by the secular public. It’s not even close. Many will claim that they only serve the Chareidi public, and while it’s probably true that the Chareidi public benefits more from these organizations, the secular public enjoys many benefits as well. Yad Sara serves the entire public as do many other organizations.

    These are just a few of the many benefits that the Chareidim bring to the table. There are many more. Perhaps they need to do more, but it’s unwise to pretend that they simply sit around all day leeching off the public without contributing in any way.

  40. L. Oberstein says:

    The demographic time bomb that Yair Lapid speaks about is that half of the children born this year are ither Charedim or Arabs.This means that in 18 years half of the eligible army population will be people who do not want to serve.This puts Israel at risk. Yes, it is true that many chareidim work off the books and claim to be full time learners but this is a terrible waste of their talents. Instaed of menial jobs, chareidim in Israel can use their brains to have jobs that require a secular education. If they can do it in Lakewood(I hear) why not in Israel? Chareidim don’t need to be poverty stricken any more.Israel has a need for their Gemara Kop in high tec. The bottom line is that why can’t Israeli chareidim modify their attitude towards work and towards membership in our joint effort to rebuild a Jewish Commonwealth. Are they guests or members of the tribe? All Yair Lapid wants is shivyon banetel and it has to come for the sake of all of us. Why do these dozens of people swarm into our shuls all the time, can’t they learn a trade?

  41. micha says:

    dovid2 asks-and-answers: “With all due respect to the hesder yeshivot(I mean it in the full sense of the words), how many of the youth from the national religious camp threw away kipa, mesora, and the rest after joining the army? Quite a few.

    First, you switch from those who participate in hesder to the Dati Le’umi community has a whole. I don’t think Hesder produced much of that “quite a few”.

    But even without noting that switch: Are the number of DL who are “kipot zeruqot” (“thrown-away yarmulkas”) more or less than the number of chareidi “shababnikim”? Every community is facing this problem. I really don’t know where the demographics lie in terms of who is bleeding worse.

    Having the chareidim join the draft means a better selection of who to draft. Israel could more rapidly go to a selective service rather than a universal draft.

    Ari Heitner asks me to look at the Tanya. The mishnah and gemara in Yevamos says all have to go to milkhemes mitzvah. Even a kallah — never mind her chasan — leaves the chuppah to be a “jobnik”. (But I’m a hypocrite to cite this, as the gemara would also obligate me and my boys, despite my living in New Jersey.) According to Chazal, talmidei chakhamim are support to be the FIRST to serve. (Everyone but the religious elite should be various degrees of “yarei verakh leivav”.) But aside from the hypocrisy of someone who didn’t serve telling others of their chiyuv to serve, I wasn’t going to raise the topic of halakhah (had Mr Heitner not asked me to) because I’m not their poseiq.

  42. ChanaRachel says:

    In noting the economic contributions of Chareidim, David F. says:
    “While many Chareidim do not officially work and earn, it’s no secret that many do so unofficially. It may not be legal, but it’s very real and contributes significantly to the economy.”

    So, us tax-paying army-serving citizens should appreciate their unique contributions (“in many ways that the secular do not”)to..
    …tax evasion???

  43. Binyomin Eckstein says:

    The numbers of DLs who have abandoned Judaism as a direct result of the army is, by Rav Melamed’s own admission, at about 20%. Has anyone suggested such a ratio of Charedi kids in Israel going off the Derech?

    R’ Micha Berger’s position on the halachah is his personal reading of the sources, against the rulings of R’ Yechiel Michel Tukaczinsky, Rav Arieli of Mercaz Harav, Rav Neriyah, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Eliezer Waldenberg, and others whose opinion matters.

    If it is about “sharing the burden,” all religious girls should also go to the army.

  44. David F. says:

    Chana Rachel,

    This may be news to you, but tax-evasion is not unique to any segment of Israeli society. I know plenty of secular Israelis – IDF grads – who insist on being paid everything in cash. This is far from a Chareidi shortcoming relative to the rest of society.

  45. David F. says:

    L. Oberstein,

    “The bottom line is that why can’t Israeli chareidim modify their attitude towards work and towards membership in our joint effort to rebuild a Jewish Commonwealth…Why do these dozens of people swarm into our shuls all the time, can’t they learn a trade?”

    Of course they can and many of them would. In fact, I’d venture a guess that the majority of them would happily do so. Why don’t they? Because of the army and the State’s requirement that only those who claim תורתם אומנתם are exempt from the draft. This creates a tremendous problem for the thousands of Chareidim who are unwilling to enter the IDF for religious reasons, but are more than happy to learn a trade and earn an honest living. If everyone who hollered about the Chareidim was serious about fixing the problem, the place to start would be right here.
    Find a kosher alternative to serving in the IDF and allow them work legally. Were this instituted, everyone would benefit and the majority of Chareidim would enter the workforce just as they do in the USA and elsewhere. Believe me, they hate shnorring more than you hate seeing them reduced to it.

  46. dr. bill says:

    rabbi oberstein, were it only that easy! if chareidim had basic skills, then figuring how to integrate them into the workforce would be easier. even assuming that excellent talmudic skills, predispose one for jobs as programmers, accountants, etc. that is of little consequence to the many who studied only torah/Talmud absent a core curriculum who are at best mediocre at their Talmudic studies. Frankly, until a core curriculum is imposed, dealing with only the draft will not solve the issue. The issue of universal service (including as rabbeim for the qualified) is easier than the issue of basic skills.

  47. ChanaRachel says:

    David F.,
    I’m afraid you misunderstood.
    I never claimed that tax-evasion is higher among Chareidim.

    All I said is that mentioning the unofficial (ie ‘off the books’) Chareidi workforce (“It may not be legal, but it’s very real and contributes significantly to the economy”) as a Chareidi “contribution” to Israeli society is profoundly misguided.

  48. Dina says:

    David F
    Happy to hear you don’t feel Jews who insist their contribution to society should be measured by their Torah learning shouldn’t be held to a higher standard of honesty and yashrus than their secular counterparts.
    After all, everyone knows learning Torah is what’s important. Living Torah is entirely optional.
    (I’m skeptical of the protective powers of the Torah “learning” of a shameless thief)

  49. David F. says:

    ChanaRachel,

    There are two reasons I mentioned that point:

    1 – Whether or not it’s legal, it’s undeniably a very real contribution to the economy. If you find it hard to comprehend how that is, consider a parallel case of illegals who work in the USA. Obviously none of them work on the books and many feel that they should be tossed out because they do nothing for the economy etc. I’ll admit that I entertained such thoughts as well until a recent trip to Phoenix Arizona opened my eyes to a different reality.
    Until recently Phoenix and the adjacent Scottsdale community were thriving, affluent communities where homes sold for very high prices and the economy was booming. Yet, while investigating the feasibility of purchasing a business there it was explained to me that those days are no longer. Homes are being sold for a fraction of their value, businesses are no longer thriving as before, and in general, the economy is not faring too well. Why? Because many of the mexican illegals have been sent back home. Seems that although they weren’t legal or working on the books, they had a strong impact on the economy. Suddenly the locals aren’t as thrilled about stopping illegal immigration as once before.
    would it great if Charedim would have a means of working legally so they can contribute more equitably? Darn right. But that doesn’t erase their current contribution.

    2 – This unfortunate reality points to another important fact to note. Contrary to popular opinion, Chareidim are not averse to working and earning a living. In fact, many of them already do. They have every desire to contribute to their surrounding society and would do so if allowed to without compromising their religious principles. As I said a few times already – the way to solve this problem is by finding a solution to the compulsory draft which is what forces them all to pretend that תורתם אומנתם.

  50. Shira says:

    I think we are looking at this the wrong way around. We assume that we need to impose core curriculum so that chareidim can be qualified for jobs. Perhaps, if we allow chareidim to work, there will be an incentive for parents to teach their kids the core curriculum.

    The hashkafic issue for chareidim is that they don’t want to be forced to equate secular and limudei kodesh by combining them in one institution. So don’t make them. Run after school programs that teach the kids multiplication and have them do science experiments. The average school day for Israeli elementary school kids is ridiculously short. Curricula exist and can easily be taught in chugim – It doesn’t necessarily need to be done in “cheder.” Ideally, you shouldn’t be using lectures and textbooks to teach the core curriculum nowadays anyway. If you go into any modern classroom, it is all about discovery learning and small group work which mirrors your average “chug” that Israeli elementary school kids flock to.

    However, there will be no incentive to run these academic chugim if the kids will never be able to use it without compromising on their religious ideals and won’t be able to work until they are forty.

  51. David F. says:

    Dina,

    “Happy to hear you don’t feel Jews who insist their contribution to society should be measured by their Torah learning shouldn’t be held to a higher standard of honesty and yashrus than their secular counterparts.”

    Obviously you’re free to imagine whatever you’d like about what I allegedly feel, but try rereading what I wrote and see if I said what you claim I did.

    I didn’t. All I did was point out that they are already contributing although we all wish it could/would be done in a more ideal framework. So far, neither you, nor ChanaRachel have attempted to actually respond to my points – instead, you decided to focus on my personal attitude, imagined or otherwise. Please try responding to my points so this conversation can be productive.

  52. Dina says:

    I’m saying that if illegal non-tax-paying business is as widespread as you claim (“contributing to the economy”) then I have a newfound sympathy for people who strongly resent the charedi community.

    The people running illegal businesses should be serving in the army. Period. That you see in their actions a “contribution” instead of a “disgrace” is a problem.

  53. Dina says:

    Shira— there will still be parents who opt out of these optional chugim, and the problem is that to people like Yair Lapid that opting out is a crime against the child, who is being deprived of his right to an education and a chance at a respectable career.

  54. Shira says:

    Dina
    A problem 50 years in the making can’t be solved overnight to meet the cable new deadline. This is a process that will work within 15 years as children grow up in the system

    1. Make it viable for men to work so there is a personal interest in each family in core skills.

    2. An important policy when dealing with group think is to realize that members of the group care about their family first before their membership to the group. While you may get resistance when you try to change the group because it then becomes us vs. them, when you approach individuals with anidea that will work for their family, they will be far more open to the idea. You need to be open to modifying your idea to fit the sensitivities of the families you approach

    3. So create frameworks for families to give their kids core skills without needing to leave the group (chadarim & Bais yaakovs). make sure these frameworks have the approval of the group leadership so political battles don’t begin negating all good you have accomplished and parents retain their ability to make decisions that are in the best interest if heir family.

    4. After a few years, and a framework of programs had been created and tested, the best ones can be institutionalized as school systems to grow and develop based on the needs of the community. This is how schools have been developed from one room school houses to large school districts . Locally, organically, and responsive to the needs of their constituents. If the system works, it will not be a death battle to require parents to give their children life skills and the few holdouts will no longer be the group but the outcasts.

  55. David F. says:

    Dina,

    If, indeed, the information about unofficial businesses in the Charedi community in Israel is news to you, it may worth considering refraining from expressing an opinion about something that you clearly know very little about. It is almost certain that you have little to no understanding of what prevents them from joining the army, and therefore have little to offer regarding a solution to the problem.
    To proclaim that the only alternative to running an illegal business is to “join the army,” as if no other solution exists that could accommodate everyone’s needs, is to demonstrate gross insensitivity to their needs and morals.
    There are real solutions that could be implemented, but they’ll require sensitivity, not disdain, and then perhaps something will be accomplished.

  56. L. Oberstein says:

    Pardon me for being subjecdtive but my son writes from Jenin about firefights and dangerous missions and 35 hour shifts searching for terrorists on the loose . Please explain why someone else’s son is free from defending Israel just because he claims to be learning Gemara? Why is his blood redder? Netzach Yehuda provides glatt kosher food, no women teachers or commanders, time set aside for prayer,etc. It is high time for evevyone’s son to share in the burden and not sit back while their brethren go to war. It is morally wrong.

  57. David F. says:

    Rabbi Oberstein,

    If only it was that simple. Netzach Yehuda is great in concept, but not as great in reality. Just yesterday I read the following story on INN:
    “Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Rabbi Schwartz [founder of Netzach Yehuda] condemned IDF leaders for, he said, violating their promises. “It’s worse than you can possibly imagine. They do not keep their word,” he charged.” He went on to say,”if army leaders do not keep their promises to hareidi soldiers, it will be impossible to enlist hareidi Jews.
    What Rabbi Shwartz is saying isn’t news to followers of Netzach Yehuda. When I visited their base a few years back, a number of the soldiers complained to me that while girls are not allowed on the base, it’s virtually impossible to refrain from all contact with them especially as one advances in the army because they’re everywhere else and Netzach Yehuda is a very limited environment. Further growth opportunities offer none of the glatt kosher food, teffila times, girl-free environment etc.

    So as long as the IDF can’t keep it’s promises to the one existing Haredi battalion that has more than proven its value to the IDF with their valor and bravery, it’s not reasonable to assume that they’ll do so en masse.
    You’re concerned about the moral wrongness of refusing to serve, while Charedim are concerned about the moral inappropriateness of the army. Who’s to say whose morals are more important?

  58. dovid2 says:

    L. Oberstein asks: Why is his blood redder? referring to those who “claims to be learning Gemara” instead of defending Israel. He further writes: “It is high time for evevyone’s son to share in the burden and not sit back while their brethren go to war. It is morally wrong.”

    One small question is nagging me. Where was L. Oberstein when I served in the IDF in the late 1970s and 1980, both sherut sadir and miluim? Did he also “claim to be learning Gemara”? While I have never been in Jenin, I was stationed in Bir Temada, near the Gidi and Mitla Passes in the Sinai Penninsula before it was returned to Egypt, and my service did take me to Ramallah and Gaza, two hotbeds of murderous Arabs. Maybe L. Oberstein should abstain from passing moral judgment on this topic?

  59. cvmay says:

    “just as the talmidim of Mir, Ponovezh, Chevron and Brisk learn also for you and me and for the rest of us”

    I would like to believe so….PR has to improve so that the IDF, its officers & soldiers, residents on border cities are aware that there is a holy kehilla learning and increasing zechusim for “you and me and for the rest of us”. Except when the batei medresh and yeshivos are emptying out during war-time that message is hard to absorb.

  60. dovid2 says:

    cymay writes: I would like to believe so [that “the talmidim of Mir, Ponovezh, Chevron and Brisk learn also for you and me and for the rest of us”]

    Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein, Rabbi Chaim Shmulewitz, Rav Shach, Rabbi Israel Zeev Gustman, the previous Bostoner Rebbe among others are on record requesting b’nei yeshiva to daven and learn in the z’chut of the IDF soldiers. My personal taanah is that it appears to me that the charedi world is not sufficiently appreciative of the fact the State of Israel, with all its shortfalls, has historically been supportive of the yeshiva world. Last fall, I heard at an assifa benefiting Yeshiva Mir d’Yerushalaim that the yeshiva’s annual budget is $36 million of which $12 million, or $1 million / month comes from the state coffers. Not only the amount the state chips in is impressive, but its attitude. I heard at the assifa that last year Pessach fell before the date the money was due to be transferred. The official in charge with the distribution of funds call the yeshiva and let them know he would transfer the money before the due date in order that the b’nei yeshiva have the badly needed funds before yom tov. The Lapids and the Baraks of the world don’t want to destroy only the yeshiva world. They also want to choke the sympathy many regular Israelis have for B’nei Torah. IMHO, the most effective PR move the yeshiva world could do is to give tours of the batei midrashot of the leading yeshivot in Eretz Israel to regular Israelis and chavrei knesset. The sight of hundreds of B’nei Torah, garbed in white shirts and black pants, learning in pairs in the study hall is just awesome. We don’t need to add anything to it. That would burry the political shenanigans of Lapid and Barak for good.

  61. Jacob Silver says:

    Two important points. First, the law of Israel, the law passed by the Knesset, must be obeyed by every Israeli. This means that the heredim cannot be an exception to the law of obligatory military service, nor can the Sunni and Shia Arab citizens of Israel. It also means that the basic educational requirements must be in each school. Second, enforcement should be firm but slow, and informing and communicating with the leaders of each group should be done. Israel is one state with one law. This has to be recognized and committed to. And because Israel has a technologically advanced sector, all students should study math and science, so that each can be a participant in this sector.

  62. Darlene Jospe says:

    Excellent! Thank you Yair!

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