Activists Take Enlistment Battle to Yeshivas

‘Enlistment for all’ activists are taking their struggle to the hareidi street with booths outside yeshivas.

Maayana Miskin,

Inside the Ponevezh Yeshiva
Inside the Ponevezh Yeshiva
Flash 90

Activists who have called for full-time Torah students to face the draft took their battle to the streets Tuesday, heading to hareidi-religious neighborhoods, where they stood outside yeshivas and called for universal IDF enlistment.

The activists, from the Zionist student group Im Tirtzu and the Forum for Equal Burden of Service, set up booths opposite the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak and the Seret-Vizhnitz yeshiva in Haifa. Organizers said they plan to expand the program by adding booths in other cities as well.

Im Tirtzu previously tried and failed to encourage hareidi enlistment with the help of posters.

While activists did hope to encourage hareidi enlistment with Tuesday's "draft booths," they also had another goal – to bring their cause back to the headlines. The subject of the IDF draft has been largely bumped from the front page by developments in Egypt and Iran.

Im Tirtzu chairman Ronen Shoval said the booths were set up to address a missing element in previous pro-enlistment protests. “Unfortunately, the public discourse was speaking over the hareidim, not speaking to them,” he said.

“We are trying to have a real, honest dialog,” he said. “We will not let up with the call to the hareidi public to show responsibility to the nation and to be a full partner, not just in our spiritual survival, but in our physical survival as well.

“Equal share in the burden is not a right, it’s an obligation,” Shoval continued. “The people of Israel is waiting for the hareidim, too, to bear the burden of blood.”