'Better for your children to die than to join the IDF'

Anti-Zionist rabbi tells parents that their sons' deaths would be preferable to their enlisting in the Israeli army.

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David Rosenberg,

Nahal Haredi soldier (file)
Nahal Haredi soldier (file)
Flash 90

A rabbi affiliated with the Yerushalmi Faction declared Thursday night that it was preferable for one’s child to die rather than to see them enlist in the IDF.

Rabbi Tzvi Friedman, a member of the anti-Zionist Yerushalmi Faction, spoke at a gathering of supporters in a makeshift yeshiva outside of Army Prison 6, near Atlit on the northern coast.

The Yerushalmi Faction eschews not only haredi service in the IDF, but encourages its followers not to seek deferments from service as yeshiva students, breaking with the mainstream haredi approach to the draft.

Since the establishment of the state in 1948, full-time yeshiva students have been given deferments from army service, allowing most haredi men to avoid enlisting. Religious women are exempt from service.

Now, however, the Yerushalmi Faction, under the aegis of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has called upon yeshiva students not to recognize the army induction offices and to decline to register for deferments, and to instead allow themselves to be arrested.

A number of yeshiva students who answered the Yerushalmi Faction’s call have been arrested in recent months as draft-dodgers, and sent to military prisons across Israel, including Prison 6.

The Yerushalmi Faction has used the arrests as the pretext for mass demonstrations and road blockings across Israel.

During his talk with supporters at the yeshiva outside of Prison 6, Rabbi Friedman espoused a hardline against service in the IDF, telling parents enlistment was a worse fate for their children than death, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

“Every mother in Israel needs to know that if her son or daughter goes to the army, death would be preferable,” Rabbi Friedman said.

Rabbi Friedman also compared Israel to authoritarian communist regimes like North Korea and Cuba.

“We all feel like we’re in the prison, this only happens in lowly communist countries.”