Daily Israel Report

Hareidi MK: If Govt. Forces Enlistment, Israel Won’t be Our Home

Hareidi MK: If Torah students are forced to enlist, ‘We will tell the world this isn’t the place for Torah observant Jews.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/12/2013, 11:18 AM

Hareidi man arrested at anti-draft protest
Hareidi man arrested at anti-draft protest
Israel news photo: Flash 90

If hareidi-religious Jews are forced to enlist in the IDF, many Jews will no longer see Israel as their home, MK Meir Porush (Yahadut Hatorah) has warned.

Porush met recently with French Ambassador to Israel Cristophe Bigot. During the meeting, Bigot asked Porush what the hareidi-religious community in Israel thinks of the government’s plan to require more hareidi men to enlist in the army.

Porush began by explaining the hareidi-religious view of Torah study. Israel survives in the hostile Middle East not due to the strength of its army, but due to the merit of Torah study, he told Bidot.

Most young hareidi-religious men currently engage in full-time Torah study rather than army service.

Porush continued by saying that Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, had declared Israel the national homeland of every Jew, and had promised hareidi-religious leaders that he would respect their community’s way of life.

“If, Heaven forbid, they try to force those learning Torah to enlist, this won’t be a national home,” Porush warned. “We will declare, and the whole world will know, that this is not the home of those who keep Torah and mitzvoth [commandments – ed.].”

“Obviously, this will have far-reaching consequences,” he added.

Rabbi Yoel Shwartz, who helped create an IDF brigade for hareidi-religious soldiers, recently warned that if the state attempts to force hareidi-religious men to enlist, “Everyone will end their involvement. Nobody will enlist.”