Daily Israel Report

Last Day of Barak's Ultimatum to Hesder Students

Several Hesder students in Har Brachah, headed by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, say they refuse to quit their yeshiva, and face possible jail time.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/24/2010, 1:22 PM / Last Update: 3/24/2010, 1:46 PM

Hesder army-students studying in Yeshivat Har Brachah were instructed to report to the Bakum (IDF Induction Center) Wednesday and choose which Hesder yeshiva they would like to enroll in. They are being officially removed from the Har Brachah hesder arrangement, in accordance with a political decision made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Parents and other supporters arrived for an ad-hoc demonstration of support for the students. Hesder is a five-year program enabling 16-18 months of active combat army service, and the remainder of the time in yeshiva studies.

Barak two months ago ordered the removal of Har Brachah from the hesder, in light of Dean Rabbi Eliezer Melamed’s refusal to condemn the soldiers who unfurled protest signs at IDF events. Rabbi Melamed had written earlier, even before the army’s spotlights were focused on him, that had the protestors asked him, he would have advised them not to do so – but that once the deed was done, he would not condemn them.


Some students have said they do not accept the decree in any fashion. They were sent to a hearing, and face possible jail time.
This was not sufficient for Barak, who demanded that he condemn them. When Rabbi Melamed did not do so, Barak ordered his yeshiva removed from the hesder program.

Several students agreed to “formally” be enrolled in another yeshiva, while continuing to study in Har Brachah. Others announced that they are “on strike,” complaining that the decision by Barak is totally political and is harmful to the army. Still others are currently in the army, making the issue not relevant to them at present.

Another group of some five students has said that it does not accept the decree in any fashion. They were sent, late this morning, to a hearing before a middle-level army officer; they face possible jail time.

One supporter who is close to the story told Israel National News that many of the officers in middle-level command positions do not at all support the decision to close Har Brachah.

Women in Green, a grassroots organization which sent a representation to the protest, stated “It’s about time that the IDF be removed from the political games. The objective of the IDF is to protect the citizens of Israel from their enemies!”