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Vizhnitzer Rebbe Tells Young Men to Ignore IDF Summons

The instructions signal a break from the longstanding hareidi policy, to report to recruitment offices.
By Haim Lev, Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/22/2014, 1:44 PM

Vizhnitzer Rebbe
Vizhnitzer Rebbe
Courtesy of Behadrey Haredim

The leaders of almost all hareidi streams have instructed hareidi youths to obey military instructions and report to the recruitment bureau when receiving an initial summons for service, but the Rebbe of Vizhnitz told his followers Monday not to set foot in the recruitment offices.

"People are walking around in a state of embarrassment and confusion, there are harsh and terrible decrees here in Israel on military affairs," the rabbi wrote.

"They send letters to come and report to the recruitment bureau, and if one fails to report – they threaten to jail him,” he added. "People receive letters – the first summons, the second summons, the third summons – and it says that their child must report, and they do not know what will happen, and start to think – 'here come the police to take our son into custody.'"

"So the first thing is not to panic, and to trust the Creator... do not pay any attention to all the letters that arrive from them," he counseled. "Parents should treat the order as if it is just some kind of note, and ignore all letters from the army. Of course, as I have said, you must increase Torah study, and thus the decrees will be cancelled."

Despite the recent changes in legislation regarding hareidi military service, the three councils of hareidi Torah sages have not changed their longstanding decisions regarding service. This means that the haredi public has continued to report to the first summons, except for a faction of the followers of Rabbi Auerbach who ignore the summons.

After reporting to the recruitment bureau, hareidim who show that they are full-time yeshiva students generally receive deferment of their military service.