‘You can't have a smartphone and not do the army’

Journalist Avishai Ben Chaim criticizes what he calls the ‘new haredi’ that neither studies the Torah nor joins the army.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Haredim and soldiers at the Kotel (illustration)
Haredim and soldiers at the Kotel (illustration)
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

A series of reports on Channel 10 on the "breakdown of the haredi community" has created controversy, and led to harsh criticism by haredi journalists.

However, investigative reporter Avishai Ben Chaim does not plan on apologizing and chose to criticize those that sanctify Israel, but do not advocate to its duties such as enlistment in the IDF.

On Wednesday, the fourth and final episode of the reports aired on Channel 10 and concluded with criticism towards Ben Chaim from haredi journalists.

"Beyond the elements of disintegration already discussed, there is a new one being created in front of our eyes; the ‘old haredi’ had moral fortitude, while in the ‘new haredi’ it is disintegrating," claimed Ben Chaim.

Ben Chaim criticized what he called the "new haredi," that on one hand does not study the Torah, and on the other, does not join the army.

Ben Chaim claims that regarding the issue of joining the army, the "old haredi" made a “firm stance and said ‘we do not fight in the army because we are studying Torah.'" However, he criticized the "new haredi," who he claimed says, “we do not study Torah, we are on our smartphones and the internet and do not do the army like the secular, and in addition we want preference for public offices.”

“In some ways, this new haredi has a very great moral distress. He does not have the protection of ‘we study Torah and therefore we deserve it,'" said Ben Chaim.

In recent days, haredi journalists criticized Ben Chaim’s investigation, claiming that the bold headline deceives reality.

Journalist Yossi Elituv of Mishpacha Magazine posted on Twitter: "Avishai Ben Chaim is a true professional journalist but heading 'disintegration' as the new series does not correspond with reality. The haredi world has always been strong and resistant to modern influences.”

Moreover, broadcaster Avi Mimran also posted on Twitter about the tendency of journalists to accumulate negative headlines against the haredi public. "It's a shame, I saw a report by Avishai Ben Chaim on the 'disintegration' of haredi society," he wrote.