A Prediction Fulfilled — Sadly

Exactly one year ago, in a piece entitled “Yair Lapid Sets Back the Clock,” I predicted that Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party would reverse a decade-long trend toward greater chareidi integration in the broader Israeli society. The Marker recently confirmed the accuracy of that prediction with respect to the number of chareidim seeking higher education and enlisting in the IDF.

An unidentified official in the Council on Higher Education termed the registration for the start of the upcoming academic year among chareidim as a “catastrophe.” According to the best estimates of the head of the council, Professor Manuel Trachtenberg, there will be a 20 percent decline from the chareidi registration for the 2013-14 academic year. The decline has been particularly dramatic among male students

The decrease in the number of chareidim registering for academic programs comes at a time when government support — in the form of student loans and grants — for chareidim in academia has greatly expanded. Avraham Feldstein, the director of Kemach, which offers tuition stipends for chareidi students, notes “the absurdity that at the very time the government is investing significant funds to encourage chareidi higher education, it has created a public atmosphere that has caused chareidim to refrain from taking advantage of the government’s initiatives.”

Feldstein describes a totally new atmosphere among young chareidim coming into Kemach’s offices: “They are much more concerned with obtaining rabbinical approval than in the past.”

The same pattern is evident as well with respect to enlistment rates. Defense Minister Moshe (Boogie) Ya’alon recently told the Knesset Committee on Foreign Affairs and Security that the IDF had witnessed a 50 percent decline in chareidi enlistment in recent months.

Prior to the advent of the new government, decisions about leaving kollel to work, obtain academic training, or enlist in the IDF were more or less private decisions made by individuals based on their particular circumstances. While the gedolim always upheld the ideal of long-term learning for the community as a whole, when approached by individuals who felt the need to leave kollel for one reason or another, they almost always gave their approval.

SO WHAT CHANGED over the last year that led to such “dramatic” drops in chareidi men signing up for academic courses or enlisting in one of the IDF programs for married men? Can the change be attributed to the improved economic circumstances of the Torah community? Lower apartment prices? A sudden infusion of new private donations into yeshivos and kollelim? Hardly.

The only thing that changed was the advent of the current government, with Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid as the treasury minister. The trends of the previous decade were not sufficiently rapid to satisfy him. So he embarked upon a campaign to squeeze the Torah community in every possible way and force men to leave Torah learning for the workplace — slashing funding for yeshivos and kollelim and yeshivos ketanos, removing municipal discounts available to kollel families. In each case the cuts were enacted with great fanfare to please his electoral base.

The rhetoric employed contributed to the impression in the Torah community that it was the very learning of Torah that was under assault. The language of “shirking” applied to those learning in yeshivah contemptuously turned yungeleit into “welfare queens,” whiling away their time in ease while supping at the public trough. Never heard was an expression of appreciation of the intensity of learning that can be readily observed in hundreds of yeshivos and kollelim around the country, or of the dedication of Torah scholars who push sleep from their eyes to continue their studies late until the night.

The new draft law included specific provisions potentially subjecting those learning in yeshivah or kollel to criminal sanctions. Whether those sanctions are ever applied or not is not the issue. It was not enough to portray yungeleit as lazy ne’er-do-wells swinging in hammocks; now they became criminals as well. Even Shahar Ilan, the direct of Chiddush, an organization dedicated to the fight against “religious coercion” and which just last week won a suit in the Supreme Court against income supplements for kolleleit, warned Lapid that the so-called criminalization provisions would strike a mortal blow at chareidi participation in the IDF.

Lapid and his Yesh Atid cohorts, like Education Minister Shai Piron, spoke too of the need to forge a common Israeli identity, and the IDF as a natural place to do so. They thereby succeeded in turning the IDF, in chareidi eyes, from primarily being an instrument of national defense into an institution for the socialization of chareidim into a culture to which they have no desire to be acculturated. Chareidim do not believe that there is some happy meeting point between Torah and non-Torah values.

As a consequence of all these concrete steps and the accompanying rhetoric, Lapid and company turned the decision to leave kollel from an individual decision, based on a host of personal and familial factors, to a communal decision — one that would be handing a victory to Lapid’s anti-Torah agenda. And when the Torah community and Torah learning is under attack, even things that are normally perfectly permissible are viewed in a different light.

During a time of gezeiras haShmad, it becomes forbidden to wear a particular color shoelace — not because it is inherently forbidden, but because the ruling authority is attempting to force the Jewish community to cease maintaining its distinctiveness from the non-Jewish community. I’m not comparing the current government decrees to a gezeiras Shmad. But the example establishes the principle that when Torah is perceived to be under attack, individual decisions, perfectly permissible in and of themselves, have to be reevaluated in a communal context.

That is what is taking place today. Chareidi young men who as individuals might be eager to acquire training to earn a livelihood, are putting their individual considerations aside in order not to provide succor to the enemy.

For that Yair Lapid has only himself to blame.

This article first appeared in Mishpacha.

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30 Responses

  1. Joe Hill says:

    ” I’m not comparing the current government decrees to a gezeiras Shmad.”

    Why are you afraid of making the very comparison that the gedolim have expressly made?

  2. DF says:

    קודם כל, its hard to think of or respond to anything other than Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali. I know these articles were written before the news broke. While intellectually we know it cannot be, emotionally I feel as though a giant “closed” sign should be hung on every Jewish blog until they come home. As important other items in the Jewish world are, our three captive teens just completely overshadows everything….

    What JR is describing, not in as many words, is the iconoclastic nature of the charedi world. It’s been noted before. The Charedi or Yeshivah world is very much a reactionary one, and will often do the opposite of what mainstream society is doing, for no other reason than it makes them different, an עם לבדד ישכון. Sometimes the opposition to the mainstream aligns with Torah values, and sometimes it does not. Thus, the more the Isreli government seeks to integrate the charedim, the more they will resist. [Though contra JR, with all due respect to him, they were nowhere near integrating even before Lapid & Yesh Atid.] It seems to me that a mature society should not be driven so much by what others do, but rather by what is right, regardless of who starts it, and regardless of the fact that others are doing it too.

  3. Y. Ben-David says:

    Hagai Segal in Makor Rishon pointed out that there are reports that Haredi enrollment in vocational and academic programs has fallen off as a result of the current crises reversing a steady increase in recent years. Segal noted a similar phenomenon occurred among the Israeli National Religious youth in the wake of the Israeli government’s destruction of Gush Katif. Up until then, there had been a steady increase in the number of DL boys volunteering for special units in the IDF and officer’s training programs. These fell off after Gush Katif, but they resumed their increase in subsequent years as the trauma wore off and new national challenges arose. Segal believes the same will occur regarding these Haredi training and educational programs. The reality of the situation and the increasing economic pressure on the Haredi community will inevitably bring Haredim back to these programs.

    As I see it there is only one possible solution to the crisis existing between the Haredi community and the rest of Israeli society. That is separation. The Haredim should be granted permanent exemption from IDF or national service, including the right to work without having served, on the basis of concience. In return the Haredim would give up control of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, and would not demand privileges or budget allocations above and beyond what other sectors of society receive. They would also avoid being the swing votes on crucial national issues and would remain neutral in decisions regarding the relationship between religion and state. In this system, each side would leave each other alone and would serve as a platform for a return to peaceful relations between the two groups. How would the Haredi leadership react to such a suggestion

  4. Nachum Boehm says:

    “Chareidi young men who as individuals might be eager to acquire training to earn a livelihood, are putting their individual considerations aside in order not to provide succor to the enemy.”

    The “enemy”??? What does Iran have to do with this issue? I think you mean “ideological opponents.”

    Most of us would like to see Chareidi men leave Kollel, not because we are anti Torah, but because we believe that Chareidim should contribute like everyone else to the armed forces, and as a community should work and not live off of everyone else’s work. We are anti lifelong Kollel supported by the public, not anti-Torah.

    This article paints Chareidi young men in a very bad light. According to this article, these men are putting aside the physical needs of their hungry and vitamin-deficient children (according to their own claims), even though there is nothing inherently wrong with working for a living, to show those who are anti-Torah (a very small portion of the Israeli population) . . . what?

  5. Jewish Observer says:

    “Why are you afraid of making the very comparison that the gedolim have expressly made?”

    – very strong point by Joe Hill. A core tenet of torah-true haredi hashkafa is to be vigilant in asking ourselves whether what we are saying is truly in the spirit of how the gedolim are directing us or whether it is what we would LIKE to believe the truth is, based on our own sensibilities which are often influenced by western (and far eastern) cultures.

  6. Michael Berman says:

    Y. Ben-David seems not to understand either history or politics. The chareidim wanted to negotiate separately with the British, which is why the Haganah murdered Jacob De Haan.

    Before trying to roll back history, he needs to explain why he thinks the Haredi community “demands privileges or budget allocations above and beyond what other sectors of society receive.” Israel has a coalition government in which all parties work for their own sectors — but only the Haredim, in his eyes, are demanding “special privilege” while they aren’t even in the government coalition. If that’s not just Lapid-style bigotry, what is it?

    Nachum Boehm… even if you don’t get the relevance of the analogy, Lapid has quite deliberately made himself the enemy of the community. Don’t try to pretend otherwise.

    And no, if you think it paints Chareidi young men in a bad light, it means you don’t understand Chareidim… or Torah.

  7. Joel Berg says:

    I believe that you have left out half the story. The other major changes in the past 12 months include the creation of the ‘amalek’ phenomena applied to everyone not Charedi and the new government laws being defined as ‘decrees’ forcing a Gezeiros Hashmad, all of which is driven by Charedi leadership.

    You do not explain that Yesh Atid and its ‘cohorts’ are implementing cost reduction measures across the board in an attempt to reign in government spending. I refer you to the news of late continually highlighting the massive cuts to the army both in terms of percentage and dollar amounts.

    No, I think it fair to say I agree with Y Ben David that this change in participation is a short term reaction driven by the need of the Charedi community to stick together while their community and leaders are adjusting to the ‘new’ world. after the changes have been in place for a couple years, things will settle down and people will begin to adjust to the changes.

  8. Nachum Boehm says:

    Michael Berman:

    I concede. You are much frummer than I.

    I nevertheless feel that it’s immoral and foolish to let your kids starve to make a point to Yair Lapid.

  9. Rafael Araujo says:

    Jonathan – with this you hit the nail on the head! Yiyasher koach!

    Change will come to the Chareidi community, in spite of Yesh Atid, Dov Lipman, Shai Piron, and Naftali Bennett, not because of them!

  10. Y. Ben-David says:

    Michael Berman-
    That is precisely the point I am trying to make. I believe non-Haredi Israeli society would be willing to grant a very great special privilege to the Haredi community, exempting ALL, not just the most serious Torah scholars from military service, IN RETURN for the Haredim giving up their part in the coalition game of getting extra benefits for their constituency that everyone else participates in. This is because general Israeli society views the Haredim as benefiting from the military and national service others perform whether or not the Haredim themselves admit it. I think everyone could accept this as a fair trade-off.

    BTW-I am aware of the fact that many, but not all Haredim, wanted a separatist community in the early years of the British Mandate, but the mass outbreak of Arab violence starting in 1929 lead the Agudat Israel leadership to move closer to the mainline, secular leadership of the Jewish Yishuv. Apparently, the Arab anti-Jewish violence convinced the Agudah leadership that ALL Jews in the yishuv were ultimately in the same boat opposite the Arab enemy. It was this that lead the Neturei Karta minority of the Haredi community to split off from Agudat Israel.

  11. lacosta says:

    the sad outcome, if maintained , is a guarantee of continued, yet markedly increased , economic deprivation in the hareili community. r piron is intending to decrease funding for haredi school systems . no one envisions elections yielding results that increase haredi sector funding. the widespread poverty of the shtetl of 100 years ago may be superceded in our lifetimes…the difference is that then , jews fled judaism due to the crushing economic burden. here — a la kein yirbeh vkein yifrotz , their numbers will increase…. we can easily envision two to three million hareilim below the poverty level in the coming decades…..

  12. c-l,c says:

    Jonathan Rosenblum,

    It might be tempting to lay the blame now on one person solely or primarily ,but would that be in concurrence with nature of the beast ?

    Lapid,with all his huff and puff ,is for the most part a pawn and a product of others

    (In a twist, Lapid voters actually chose how they did for a wide range of reasons,despite incessant claims otherwise.
    A study reported that a significant number of millenials and females voted Yesh Atid largely due to…. Lapid’s good looks.)

    Would it be your unintended desire to absolve all those who helped create the necessary atmosphere which was prerequisite for his present role
    ( incl. all the bloggers )?!

    Those who laid the groundwork for his rise ,(in the media naturally,but) moreso as is often the case within the Dati/modox Sector, shall “when the going gets rough” be permitted once again to feign innocence ?!

    (p.s.In a twist, Lapid voters actually chose how they did for a wide range of reasons,despite incessant claims otherwise.
    A study reported that a significant number of millenials and females voted Yesh Atid largely due to…. Lapid’s good looks.)

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    As long as Yair Lapid and his allies seek to demonize Charedim, it will breed a reaction from the Charedi world that views anything associated with work as illegitimate.

  14. dr. bill says:

    You write: “For that Yair Lapid has only himself to blame.”

    I suspect that if one wanted to allocate blame, there may well be others to whom to assign responsibility.

    But what I find disheartening, but perhaps understandable, that despite all the tumult, Israeli (so called chiloni) society is more open to religious/traditional, though not orthodox by any means, history/study/practice. Classical Zionism did not accord religion/tradition the role that is increasingly respected by growing numbers of Israelis. Despite the current situation, I remain optimistic.

  15. Ben Waxman says:

    The reality of the situation and the increasing economic pressure on the Haredi community will inevitably bring Haredim back to these programs.

    As I see it there is only one possible solution to the crisis existing between the Haredi community and the rest of Israeli society.

    How does the seifa follow the reisha? If the guys will, sooner or later, re-enroll, so what is the issue?

  16. c-l,c says:

    Y. Ben-David

    “As I see it there is only one possible solution to the crisis existing between the Haredi community and the rest of Israeli society. That is separation.”

    What happened to the original Dati/Mizrachi premise for joining the state of bringing Torah
    to the ” Am ” ?

    Might this be an admittance of a retroactive Chap.11 ?

    Who would be left? A handful of chardalnikim ?

    Some of us understood all along that this really was the goal !


  17. L.Oberstein says:

    Sadly, Reb Jonathan is not able to advise the chareidi leadership nor yair Lapid how to avoid a fight. Yair is arrogant, ignorant and did not understand that the chareidim would circle the wagons. I honestly believe that the chareidim are afraid that their whole society will fall apart if they are exposed to the same situation as almost all American Chareidim. They lack the confidence to believe that their way of life can flourish with men and women who have advanced degrees and occupy every field of endeavor. Both sides adopted a collision coorse for their own internal poetical reasons.
    Calling people bad names and say98ing taht they are the epitome of evil is not the way to win friends and influence people but it seems to go on in Israel far too much,even intra-mural Chareidi fights. Yated in an editorial saida that the reason that G-d had these boys kidnapped is because the State passed a lazw to draft yeshiva students. How can we identify with that?

  18. L.Oberstein says:

    To clarify, The Jerusalem Post of today has an article that quotes word for word the editorial in Yated. It is not hearsay .
    There are historical reasons for today’s problems but things are not the same as in Ben Gurion’s day. I was at the Knesset yesterday and saw lots of men wearing kipot on the floor of the Knesset, I have heard itis one third of the total. The Israeli leadership are not evil,they are not trying to “shmad’ the Torah world.That is hyperbole.
    If one is a freind of the chareidi commuity then we have to help them negotiate in good faith to find a path that both sides can live with. Right now the Draft issue is moot. No one has to serve for the next three years and the chareidi leadership believes that the numerical goals will be met so the “jail’ option will never come to fruition. If there were not a manufactured crisis by both sides, the steady integration would be taking place,as Jonathan says,but at a slower pace. This is not shmad but tough love. You may not believe it but this is really what most members oF Yeshi Atid say and think. Yair lapid is a TV personality and he wants his party to be re-elected next time, he is also arrogant and naive in politics. Bibi qave him the Finance MINISTRY SO HE COULD HANG HIMSELF.

  19. lacosta says:

    Y ben david —
    i had proposed similar ‘ausritt’ type of solution to the non-zionist sector problem. but haredi society is not interested in creating a wall that makes them so ‘other’ that their chance for kiruv and hashpa’ah is reduced. it is antithetical to the tenets of ‘hocheach tochiach’ . besides, the looming economic holocaust is so large ,[ and help from other jews in chu’l can’t possibly reach the tens of billions needed ] that the only hope is changing public opinion and joining socialist oriented governments …it’s a nice pipe dream , but mashiach is actually easier and more likely…

  20. Y. Ben-David says:

    I am suggestion POLITICAL separation, not social or religious separation. This suggestion is not line with what the Edah Haredit does which is to refuse to accept government money not voting in national elections. Instead, the Haredim would still vote and have representation in the Knesset. However, the Haredim, as R. Rosenblum states in the column above, do not want to be forced to participate in venues, such as the IDF or national service, in which their people would be subordinate to others who have a different values system and a different view of an Israeli national ethos.
    As one person at the New York demonstration stated “we haredim simply want to be left alone”. The proposal I stated above would do that, but many secular people feel they “want to be left alone” as well, and they feel that they have to bear “religious coercion” such as the demand that personal status be controlled by the Orthodox rabbinate, restrictions on the import of non-kosher food, restrictions on public activities such as public transport on Shabbat, etc. IN other words, some secular people want a “separation of religion and state”.
    Please note: this is NOT my personal position nor is it that of the Religious Zionist community, but as regards the “each side wants to be left alone” paradigm, the Haredim would not have to expose themselves to unwanted influences from the outside and in return they would not interfere in the personal activities of non-Haredim as well. Of course, kiruv and persuasion would not be effected and the Haredi Knesset representation would still have free reign to propagate their views, but they would not intervene in the POLITICAL dimension of national debates on religion and state, would give up control of the Chief Rabbinate etc, and leave the national debate to be between those Orthodox elements such as the RZ’s and the secular camp. This would end the tension between Haredi and secular society. Would the Haredi leadership be interested in such a grand bargain?

  21. Yisrael Asper says:

    L.Oberstein:”Bibi qave him the Finance MINISTRY SO HE COULD HANG HIMSELF.”

    He would hang himself in any event just from being leftwing with the Palestinians. Its a bundling problem for secular leftwing leaders and organizations in Israel trying to limit or eliminate religion in Israel. They want support for their ideas on religion but they invariably are leftwing on the Palestinians and so lose support from an Israeli public that increasingly sees futility in a fake peace process. Now Abbas has included Hamas in his government, an organization that kicked him out of Gaza upon democratic election. The situation for the the fake peace process is as it was when Hamas was elected. I think Lapid and Yesh Atid are therefore destined in any event to be political has beens.

  22. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Israeli politics is very fluid in terms of small and center parties and very constant in terms of general trends. The right and religious population is increasing. Center parties pop up because they are an opportunity for either newbie or split-off politicians to grab a hot spot on the political map. The next time around they drop or even disappear. Yesh Atid will lose seats or, as a result of negative polls, split. Some of the religious or more rightwing members will go back to their natural constituencies and some other party will pop up to cater to the wishful thinking ADD element of the public, including many first-time voters. There will also be working hareidim who will increasingly look for a less dissonant party (TOV) to vote for than Aguda or Shas. But the difference is that the threshold for getting into the Knesset has been raised, thus making it hard for splinter and new parties to get in. The result will be to dry up the speculative would-be center and force politicians to go to the larger parties to get into the Knesset via primaries. Since the gedolim and askonim will not include these candidates in the hareidi lists, you can expect to see them running in the primaries of the Bayit Yehudi and Likud. Will they get in? Probably not. They will stay unrepresented and frustrated. The voice for hareidi participation in the work force and the army will not be heard.
    A compact between the hareidim such as Ben-David suggests will not happen. It is possible that we may go over to a volunteer, professional army as Moshe Feiglin suggests. But that will not affect the continuing drive of hareidim to seek all the influence they can get. Israeli society changes here and there, but its in-your-face, mind-everybody’s-business way of doing things is not about to change. Get used to it.

  23. E zaghi says:

    I would rather not believe that individuals who approach gedolim to ask to leave kollel due to poverty are denied the opportunity to provide for their families by earning a living. The visual of young man leaving a gadol’s office after being told he cannot go to work to feed his family for the greater good seems absurd.

  24. Ben Waxman says:

    What I find disturbing about this article is that it makes the Chareidim as a passive players in the events that have transpired here over the last few years. Yes the Chareidi world is fighting Lapid, but they fought the Tal Law (even though in retrospect it turned out to be a bonanza for them, a critical safety valve for their society). They also fought (successfully) the Plessner Committee, refusing to participate or cooperate. Instead of seeing the writing on the wall, the Chareidi MKs fought that committee at every turn. Had they worked with Plessner and helped pass those recommendations, there wouldn’t be any criminal sanctions, the draft ages would have been higher, and most importantly, the elections wouldn’t have been held with the Chareidi draft being the key issue. Lapid at best would have won half the seats he has now. He wouldn’t be the treasury minister (he probably wouldn’t be in the government at all).

    In short, the policy of fighting the government every step of the way in this matter has failed, at least for the short term. I have trouble believing that new elections will solve the issues.

  25. Jewish Observer says:

    “I would rather not believe that individuals who approach gedolim to ask to leave kollel due to poverty are denied the opportunity to provide for their families by earning a living”

    – very well phrased. Much of what we believe the gedolim say is based on what we would like to believe they hold vs a dispassionate examination of what that really hold

  26. c-l,c says:

    Y. Ben-David,lacosta,etc..

    A Faustian Bargain ?

    Would you also infer that that all Knesset votes on security decisions be restricted to those who served as Combat officers or on the echelons of the General Staff akin to what Sharon implied in his autobiography?

    Sorry to disabuse you, but even according to your skewed standards ,more shas MKs are eligible than Yesh Atids’

    Would you feign to claim that anyone in the US who opposed serving in Vietnam be under the same limitations?


    Seems another form of fascism?

    What about the Mafdal of the ’60s that generally still avoided the army, but were invited into the highest decision making?

    Can you (plural)be so soulless that only things that are of import are Tangible ?

    Iirc,that “They would also avoid being the swing votes on crucial national issues” is what the charedim already do!
    Recall Gaza for one.

    A prime reason Agudah abstained,was they were instructed that it would be inappropriate for them –
    for they were promptly bashed and demonized by the same crowd!

    Would You like know who started the “cottage cheese revolution” in the summer of ’11?
    A chareidi in Bnei Brak, not poster girl Dafna Leef.

    You know who got Gilad Shalit out of captivity?
    It’s forbidden to disclose, but primarily a charedi living in the north of Jerusalem

    To their misfortune,Charedim (like the settlers), long assumed that “Facts on ground” would be more decisive than “hearts and and minds”

    Every commentor is clueless about all this?
    Hardly surprising.
    Charedim lack the urge to wear their accomplishments on their sleeves like certain other sectors.
    Perhaps consider getting your “territory of consciousness” from better sources than hitherto.

    Unfortunately ,many Charedim perhaps the majority, would voice some agreement to the said concordat
    But in their insides, they understand that however inconvenient to themselves imposition of minimal jewish obligations and standards on others will be ..it is our raison d’etre
    ( albeit without interfering with the dictum “Your life comes first”)

    We are in this world for the purpose of bringing moshiach

    That is all .

    Agree ?

    There are many (mouthing piousness ) whose goals are ..very different

    We have way too few working(in whatever endeavor) to that goal

    If that is internalized ,the numbers seem puny

  27. Mordechai Adler says:

    The new draft law included specific provisions potentially subjecting those learning in yeshivah or kollel to criminal sanctions. Whether those sanctions are ever applied or not is not the issue. It was not enough to portray yungeleit as lazy ne’er-do-wells swinging in hammocks; now they became criminals as well.

    Sorry! I have fully read the new law http://www.knesset.gov.il/laws/data/law/2441/2441_1.pdf and there are no criminal sanctions in reference to Yeshiva and Kolel students. It is for that specific reason that neither the Yated neeman, HaModia, haMevaser or mishpocho have never shared with their readers the complete law.

    • Yaakov Menken says:

      Mordechai, really? You asked Yated Ne’eman, HaModia, HaMevaser, and Mishpocho, and that’s what they said? Hint: you’ll need to spell the name of Mishpacha magazine correctly before tracking them down.

      And, of course, it’s routine for other papers to publish the full text of 20-page laws they plan to discuss. Right? Of course it is. In fact, now that you’ve brought it up, please show us where any of JPost, Haaretz, Times of Israel, Israel National News or Yediot “shared the complete law” with their readers. I mean, otherwise it would be an obviously biased statement on your part, judging the Haredi papers by a transparent double standard, so I’m sure you can show the readers where they did.

      As they say, you get to have your own opinion, as biased as it may be — but not your own facts. The reality, of course, is that Yair Lapid threatened that Yesh Atid would leave the coalition if there weren’t criminal sanctions, and everyone from secular news outlets to the anti-religious Hiddush knows that criminal sanctions were part of the law. Yair Lapid was thrilled.

      Your comment appeared, at least to this moderator, so transparently driven by bias over a commitment to accuracy that I hesitated before approving it. It transparently impugns the motivations of others with no factual basis, and it inverts reality at the same time. I’m really publishing it because this is what those who cry censorship were often trying to get onto Cross-Currents. Not always, by any means, but somehow it’s the ones of this type that seem most likely to appear on blogs along with the censorship bit.

  28. Mordechai Adler says:

    Reb Yaakov! Thank you for publishing one of my comments, as I came back here now to add a third. But first, I must reply to yours. 1. I attached a link to the law for all to see and draw their own individual opinion. Next, I stand by my original statement that there are “no criminal sanctions in reference to Yeshiva and Kolel students”. The original law has criminal sanctions since 1949 for anyone who is called up and does not obey those orders. All the new law says is that Chareidim can not get a blanket deference anymore without regards to the percentages or quotas. If the quotas are met, then there will be no “general call up”. If they’re not met, then only 1800 can remain learning and the rest will be called up.

    Does it say that anyone who learns Torah goes to jail? No. Does it say that learning Torah is criminal? No. So the Chareidim and Anti Chareidim press are having a field day while the truth as usual is not getting the light of day. Which is why Cross-Currents is so imperative in giving the public a place to see all sides of the story, and draw their own conclusions.

    The law as it was formed is a far cry from what Lapid wanted, and in fact, under the present circumstances, was better than anyone could have hoped for. Everyone over 24 received an immediate פטור. There is an interim period of three years. During these years, certain quotas have to be met, and depending on who you ask, might be easier or difficult to meet, but they are nowhere in the realm of the impossible.

    So the answer is yes! Everyone is trying to gain politically from the passing of the law with both Lapid and the Chareidim pointing to an apparatus that has been in place for 65 years to deal with draft-dodgers, that is now relevant to Chareidim as well if we fail to to live up to the new quotas. The sentence “It was not enough to portray yungeleit as lazy ne’er-do-wells swinging in hammocks; now they became criminals as well.” has no factual basis in the law, and is rhetoric that serves our politicians and not Klal Yisroel.

  29. Yaakov Menken says:

    Sorry, R’ Mordechai, you made an outlandish claim and now you are attempting to spin it back. You claimed that none of the frum papers published the full text of the law, and you claimed to know why they didn’t. I responded that for this to have veracity, you would need to provide evidence that the secular papers published the text — which you haven’t. In other words, your claim doesn’t hold water.

    Granted, the law does not provide a new, explicit criminal sanction for yeshiva students. As both Lapid and the charedi media are well aware, it removes any distinction between a person who does not go to the Army because he continues to learn Torah twelve hours a day, and the one who does not go to the Army because he is a “lazy ne’er-do-well swinging in a hammock.” Under the new law, the two are considered one and the same and must face the same consequences (and since most of the lazy ne’er-do-wells manage to evade jail in practice, as well, whether or not yungerleit go to jail would be questioning whether they are treated worse). You said it yourself: under the law they are not Torah scholars, they are not the best and brightest, they are not the future of Klal Yisrael — they are “draft dodgers.” Thus the accuracy of Rabbi Rosenblum’s statement is obvious.

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