'Anti-draft radicals are like ISIS'

Senior haredi rabbi compares radical haredi anti-draft group to ISIS terrorists. 'They could teach Nazi propagandists a thing or two.'

David Rosenberg , | updated: 10:42 AM

Rabbi Yigal Rosen
Rabbi Yigal Rosen

The rabbinic backlash against anti-draft activists within the haredi community continued this week, with another senior haredi rabbi blasting supporters of the Yerushalmi Faction (Jerusalem Faction) in an address Sunday night.

Rabbi Yigal Rosen, Dean of the Ohr Yisrael Yeshiva in Petah Tikva, excoriated the radical Yerushalmi Faction, comparing the group to Islamic terrorists and Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

The Yerushalmi Faction, led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has called upon supporters not to cooperate with IDF draft offices – even for the purposes of obtaining draft deferments, which are offered to full-time yeshiva students. The group has organized numerous demonstrations across the country, protesting the arrests of draft registration dodgers from the haredi community.

Last week, the Yerushalmi Faction launched a series of protests following the arrest of two draft-dodgers, culminating in a “Day of Rage” Thursday, with hundreds of demonstrators blocking roads in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and around other haredi population centers. Some 120 demonstrators were arrested, many of whom initially refused to identify themselves to authorities.

Speaking to students Sunday night, Rabbi Rosen blasted the Yerushalmi Faction, which he blamed for a smear campaign targeting him and other mainstream haredi figures.

“There has never been anything like this,” Rabbi Rosen said, according to Behadrei Haredim.

“Many people express shock [when I say this] and ask ‘what happened?’ For those of you who don’t know, I’ll reveal a little secret to you. Some masters of propaganda – people would could have taught the Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels a thing or two – used every means available to spread [their lies], even using methods which are completely forbidden, saying that there is a certain dean at Ohr Yisrael Yeshiva who suggested… that students take an abbreviated [army] training course during vacation. They spread this in such a way that [the rumor] in such unbelievable terms, as if it were fact, resulting in very serious responses [against myself].”

“This is all simply venomous and deadly propaganda; see where it has taken us, all this violence. People who are supposed to be Torah students – all this evil, it reminds me of ISIS. How could it be? What are they talking about? Are [we] trying to lure people away from the faith? They’re spreading lies. Last Friday night there was a protest outside of my house. Afterwards I noticed that they had brought a photographer [to the protest], who they claim is not Jewish.”

“And the children [at the protest] – they were clapping and having such fun, these poor kids. God gave [the protesters] children, and what do they do with them? Take them home and study [Torah] with them.”

On Thursday, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky slammed the Yerushalmi Faction in a written statement, calling members “empty, foolish and reckless”.

"I was outraged when I heard recently how the honor of the Torah was utterly desecrated by a few empty, foolish and reckless people who insulted one of the great Torah educators of our generation,” wrote Kanievsky.

“They did so in various ways that cannot even be described. They're acting like sheep who have no shepherd - there is no fear of Heaven here! Woe unto us that such a thing could happen today."