Dissonance in Chabad over IDF draft agreement

In wake of a new draft agreement with the IDF, Chabad leaders on both sides of the argument claim the Rebbe is on their side.

Rachel Kaplan,

Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Mordecai Baron/Wikimedia Commons

After leaders of the Chabad Lubavitch movement in Israel signed off on a draft-deferment agreement with the IDF, opponents of the deal have claimed that a letter from the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Shneerson, declares such an agreement "quite out of the question," Kikar Shabbat reports.

The agreement allows for Chabad students to receive a two-year draft exemption to leave Israel, after they have studied six years in yeshiva. The two years are to be spent studying at the Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn, and for rabbinical ordination at a range of Chabad institutions. By the age of 26, though, most Chabad students will be required to leave yeshiva, and draft into the IDF.

Sources within Chabad, speaking with Kikar Shabbat, compare the current agreement to the "hesder" yeshiva system currently in place for Religious Zionist students, which combines Torah study and combat training for their official army service. In his letter, the Rebbe had spoken against a "hesder" yeshiva system for Chabad, calling it "quite out of the question."

The Chabad rabbinical court which authorized the agreement has since come out strongly against the attempts to discredit the agreement. "By the authority granted us by the leader of our generation [...], we hereby declare that all the opposition to the agreement is in complete opposition to our wishes and is not to be considered at all. Therefore, opposition to the agreement goes against the wishes of the Rebbe, the leader of our generation, and is a desecration of the name of Lubavitch," the court reiterated.




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