MK Zevulun Orlev of the Jewish Home party has criticized the hareidi-religious community over the fact that so many hareidi men do not enlist in the IDF, and cite the mitzvah (commandment) to learn Torah constantly as the reason.
“As a man who keeps Torah and mitzvoth, who graduated a hesder yeshiva, I am angered by the use of the mitzvah of Torah study to excuse shirking the mitzvah to serve in the military,” Orlev said, speaking at a conference in Latrun for pre-military academies (mechinas).
“Whoever learns Torah and keeps mitzvoth must recognize, know, observe and perform the very important mitzvah of defending the existence of the state of the Jewish people,” he said to applause.
Orlev added, “The top religious-Zionist rabbis, who are important dayanim [religious court judges], the heads of yeshivas and the rabbis of large cities, are proof that Torah learning and IDF service are two mitzvoth that go together.”
Orlev represented the Knesset at the Latrun event. The event was attended by hundreds of pre-military academy graduates as well as academy heads, senior IDF commanders, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, and military and civilian leaders.
Prime MInister Netanyahu has set up a committee, headed by a non-religious MK, to suggest a law that will take the place of the [recently declared unconstitutional] Tal Law on hareidi army enlistment and that will provide a means for hareidi participation in service in Israel - in addition to the important role occupied by Torah learning.