Charedi Unit Nabs Suicide Bomber

In today’s Jerusalem Post:

The haredi Nahal unit of the IDF captured an 18-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt at the Beka’ot roadblock in the Jordan Valley on Wednesday afternoon.

The belt held approximately 10kg of explosives, Jordan Valley Battalion Commander Col. Moti Elmoz told Israel Radio.

Sappers successfully defused the bomb.

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24 Responses

  1. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Your point being?

  2. Yaakov Menken says:

    There needs to be a point? Charedim serving, and serving well, in the Israeli army seems newsworthy, somehow.

  3. ralphie says:

    Riiiiight. What’s a sapper?

  4. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Ah, that’s what I thought you’d say. So it’s OK for the media to identify Chareidim, even though the information that the unit was Nahal Chareidi was superfluous, when it’s something that you consider to be positive. Somehow I believe that had the article been about a unit that let a terrorist slip through, C”V, you would not be so thrilled had they mentioned it was a Nahal Chareidi unit.when it

  5. Yaakov Menken says:

    Why don’t you ask the Jerusalem Post why they thought it worthwhile? Or is it, rather, that you would rather there be no mention of Nahal Chareidi, so that you can continue to operate under the myth that Chareidim, in toto, don’t go into the army?

  6. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Obviously you know nothing about me. I operate under no such myths. I know that there are Chareidim in the army and am as proud of them of them as all of the young men who risk their lives to protect those of us who are Zoche to live here. As an FYI, the term Nahal Chareidi is somewhat of a misnomer. While there are certainly actual Chareidim in Nahal Chareidi units, there are also many non-Chareidi orthodox Jews in those units as well. Often, RZ kids who, for whatever reason don’t want to serve via Hesdar choose to serve in Nahal Chareidi units, as these units are more accommodating to orthodox needs.

    In your rush to launch your ad hominum attack on me you totally missed my point. I was trying to point out an inconsistency in your approach to media reporting about Chareidim. My impression is that, in the past, you have bemoaned that fact that the media unnecessarily identifies when Chareidim are involved in various incidents. Yet here, when the mention of Nahal Chareidi was also unnecessary, you were happy to post the article. Either you should advocate total media neutrality or accept that when certain groups, such as Chareidim, are in the news it’s bigger news.

    That was point. Feel free to disagree with it but that untrue snide comment about me was way below you.

  7. Nachum says:

    Kol Hakavod! May there be many more like them.

    Ralphie, a sapper is someone who defuses bombs, among other tasks.

  8. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that we should applaud this successful apprehension of terrorists by the Charedi Nachal unit as evidence that this unit and the concept that underlies it has the potential to be a huge success and Kiddush HaShem.

  9. mb says:

    Exactly how many cheredim go in the army?

  10. Boruch Horowitz says:

    Primarily, this news item is an example of Chasdei Hashem and Hashgacha(Divine kindness and guidance) which we need to be aware of and to be grateful for. Obviously, it doesn’t matter who did it, despite the fact that the press treated the Nachal Charedi part as newsworthy.

    Nevertheless, the fact that a Nachal Charedi unit accomplished the mission can be a source of pride to us, because it demonstrates how charedim can contribute to the country of which they are a part of in an important way without them being something other than themselves. From recognizing this contribution, one can go on to the next step, and view on a whole the charedi contribution to the State of Israel. Some serve their nation be studying Torah and preserving Judaism, others accomplish it by volunteering in chesed organizations which serve all members of society, and still others do so through army service in a special unit. The latter is an example of how the entire country benefited when good will was shown and necessary accommodations were made which were needed for Nachal Chareidi’s formation.

  11. Tzvi says:

    I’m with Lipkin on this one. Rabbi Menken, if your shita is that charedi or religious is superfluous in regards to news items (like abramoff or anything else) then your shita should dictate the same over here. Of course I understand that you want to distance yourself from scandalous frum jews and embrace the actions of heroic jews but that’s not consistnet. If you want to be self-serving then at least be clear about it. Remember, it’s a newspaper not a paid advertisment.

  12. Yaakov Menken says:

    Menachem, whether or not you yourself believe that charedim don’t serve in the Army, by attempting to squelch the fact that there was a charedi unit involved, you in practice encourage perpetuating that myth.

    Do you not agree that there is a myth that charedim, in toto, don’t serve?

    Do you not agree that this story disproves that myth?

    If you agree with these two obvious truths, then it is equally obvious why it is worth underlining this story.

  13. Menachem Lipkin says:

    I’ll try this one more time. Yaakov, I personally am fine and pleased with the fact the Post and Ynet mentioned that a frum unit apprehended that terrorist yesterday. However, I am also fine, not pleased, when the media points out that Chareidim were physically stopping other Chareidim from voting or that some Chareidim were rioting in RBS because they wanted to kick a MO family. What I’m trying to point out is that you appear to be inconsistent on the issue of the media singling out Chareidim. It seems to be OK with you if they are mentioned in a context that you find positive or “myth busting”, but not in context that sheds a negative light on them. Is this correct?

    The first question you asked, “Do you not agree that there is a myth that charedim, in toto, don’t serve?”, has a bit of a straw-man quality to it. Yes of course there are some Israelis that believe that no Chareidim serve in the IDF. But they are a minority and that’s not the real issue. The issue is that Chareidi ideology, in general, is opposed to serving, for some legitimate and some not so legitimate reasons, and that as a result the percentage of Chareidim that do serve is far lower than the general population.

    So for the vast majority of Israelis for whom the issue is not whether some Chareidim serve but that most don’t, the answer to your second question, “Do you not agree that this story disproves that myth?”, is no. For some minute minority who held the mythical belief that all Chareidim don’t serve and who are, at the same time, open-minded enough to notice those two words, “Chareidi Nahal”, in the article then yes, for them it would disprove their myth.

  14. Michoel says:

    “In your rush to launch your ad hominum attack…”
    Will you please relax a little bit?! Rabbi Menken is a very nice person who I know from shul a bit. As, I’m sure you are, Stev Brizel is. If any of us saw each other with a broken down car on I-95 we’d rush to help and consider it the greatest honor. Let’s all just chill out a little bit. Blogs can be very a very possitive thing. They can also bring out this, snarky, “I’m gonna show him!” attitude in a lot of people. It really takes the fun out of it.

    You started the string with a post saying “Your point being?”. If you felt a need to comment, you could have said, “Yakov, I feel it is inconsistent of you complain about the press stressing that a particular criminal is Charedi and then publicize that an army unit is Charedi when they do something possitive. Non-charedi soldiers fight bravely everyday and no-one takes note.”


    If I am ever guilty myself I hope someone will point it out to me.

  15. Yaakov Menken says:


    You are going through incredible twists of logic in order to make a non-point. I do not think that, in general, it is worthwhile to point out the religious affiliation of a person who was arrested for an irrelevant crime (if a synagogue official embezzled from his synagogue, then his affiliation would be relevant; that a Washington lobbyist who overstepped the line is Orthodox, is not). But I have never objected to a news story discussing charedim attempting to obstruct a charedi vote, and in fact linked to such a story here several days ago.

    In your last two paragraphs you refer, repeatedly, to Israelis, as if they were the audience hearing the points that you and I are making…. on an English-language site, published in America. We have a free ClustrMaps image of the readership of Cross-Currents at the bottom of the side-bar, and while there is, in fact, a large circle surrounding Israel, one must visit Siberia, the Sahara desert or southern Argentina in order to escape the reach of this insidious media effort of ours.

    I am, in fact, quite certain that the reference to this article has done some small good at imploding a global myth (which, you might notice, was referenced on the G Gordon Liddy show yesterday), your “snarky” (Michoel’s word) remarks about it notwithstanding.

    P.S. Michoel, somehow I never connected the online writer with the one I knew in shul. Thank you for the kind words!

  16. Menachem Lipkin says:

    I’m sure you’re both lovely people. In general, over the years out here in cyberspace I’ve found Rabbi Menken to be very fair and measured. That’s what really hurt me about his personal dig at me. (I think I’m not the only one that needs to “relax”.)

    Interestingly, I started the thread with “your point being?” davka so as not to make any assumptions about what Rabbi Menken was thinking when he posted the article. I can see that it can come off the way Michoel said and a different phrase may have worked better to assertain that information.

    I really don’t understand what you’re saying about the demographics of Cross-Currents. My comments were meant for you, and they were in answer to questions you asked me. Did I miss something?

  17. Yaakov Menken says:


    I truly am sorry that you perceived it as a personal dig. In fact, you are probably right that I should have said that you were encouraging the myth rather than “operating under” the myth. I thought it was obvious that you’re not truly under the impression that no charedim serve. As you pointed out regarding Israelis, how many frum people (and I am aware from your previous comments that you are observant) imagine that no charedim serve?

    Your comments to me, to answer the demographics question, focused upon Israelis. You said that no Israeli’s understanding would be corrected — and this would be a valid question to pose to the editors of the Jerusalem Post, but you’ll note that even they thought it was newsworthy that the charedim made a positive contribution in a military capacity. But Cross-Currents publishes worldwide, and your comments about correcting a more nuanced misunderstanding particular to Israelis are certainly not relevant here. You pointed out that most Israelis are aware that some charedim serve, by now. You could not say the same about Jews worldwide, so your point fails.

    For both Menachem and Tzvi:

    We are not starting from a philosophical debate, in which charedim disagree that military service is the best way for a Jew to contribute to the security of Israel. We begin, rather, with a popular myth that charedim are shirkers who avoid the rigors of military service in order to laze back in yeshiva under the protection of the IDF. [As someone once pointed out, it would be trivial to find 100 guys from yeshiva to go spend six months in Nachal Charedi if their Rabbi told them it was a mitzvah to do so. Now find 100 soldiers willing to spend six months in a yeshiva instead of on base. Oh… I thought yeshiva life was supposed to be easy?]

    It is precisely because of this myth that Nachal Charedi deserves emphasis. Were everything “neutral,” as it were, then you would be right that it’s odd to focus in on them. But everything is obviously not neutral, and I think you know this as well as I.

  18. Michoel says:

    The medium is imperfect and it is easy to misread a person’s intent. I apologize for not reading your words in the best light. All should be bentched with a chodesh tov and joyful, elevated Pesach.


  19. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Apology accepted, and I’m sure glad you’re not my teacher I never failed anything. 🙂

    You said, “You pointed out that most Israelis are aware that some charedim serve, by now. You could not say the same about Jews worldwide, so your point fails.”

    Yaakov, the article you posted was from an Israeli newspaper. Though it’s in English, the primary readership is Israelis like me who can’t make their way through a Hebrew paper. 🙁 The Americans who read the Post are already well educated about Israel and I’m sure have a fair knowledge, like Israelis, the some Chareidim do serve. Cross-currents readers are also quite aware of this. So I would say therefore that the “myth-busting” effect of this article is next to nill.

    I’ll be more generous and give you a C-. 🙂

  20. Yaakov Menken says:

    Menachem, Menachem, Menachem. This will be the third time that I point out to you that you are addressing to me challenges that you must submit to the editors of the Jerusalem Post. I brought the article to the attention of Cross-Currents readers. Your argument seems to boil down to “since I don’t see why the JPost should have published it, you’re wrong to refer to it on Cross-Currents even if it serves a valuable purpose outside Israel.”

    Cross-Currents readers are not merely the well-informed, but also the curious. And we continue to be surprised by the number of prominent writers and thinkers who read us, even within the Orthodox community. The only thing unnecessary is sniping whenever someone has something positive to say about charedim.

    Considering that you said two posts ago that it would be your last try, I think it might be time to follow Michoel’s advice.

  21. Tzvi says:

    In fairness, secular people operate under the myth that religious and observant people (especially charedi and orthodox) are honest, upright and set an example for the rest of the world [this is what we tell them]. It is therefore newsworthy to point out that the famous ___X____ scandal was perpetrated by a religious fellow.

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    Why is it so difficult just to say that the Charedi Nachal unit acted as trained and were a Kiddush HaShem? The Charedi Nachal unit provides a very important way for Charedim who are not capable of learning 24/7 and who want to do something proactive in defending Am Yisrael al Admas HaKodesh. The fact that the concept is working should be a sign of applause , especially from critics of the Charedim. IMO, that fact is irrelevant and quite distinguishable from the all too frequent reports in Israel’s “leading newspaper”, a denizen of self-hating Jews who salavate about attacking and demonizing Charedim and settlers. Of course, our communities have their problems, but when was the last time that you ever saw anything favorable either about Charedim or settlers in Haaretz? In that regard, the actions of the Charedi Nachal and the report should be applauded.

  23. Jewish Observer says:

    Michoel said: “All should be bentched”

    I agree. That’s what Phil Jackson did to Scottie Pippen when he misbehaved.

  24. Sara says:

    Argument in irrelevant. My brother is in Nachal Haredi. He is not Haredi nor are his fellow soldiers. He is modern orthodox and the population in the unit is mixed religiously. It’s just called that.

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