Hareidi religious protesters face police
Hareidi religious protesters face police Israel news photo: Flash 90

If the state tries to force hareidi-religious men to enlist in the IDF, hareidi men will stop enlisting even in the existing programs for hareidi soldiers, Rabbi Yoel Shwartz has warned.

Rabbi Shwartz is one of the rabbis and co-founders of the Netzach Yehuda (Nachal Hareidi) Brigade, a brigade created for hareidi-religious soldiers.

He spoke Sunday to Kol B’Rama radio, a hareidi station. “If this assault continues, will the rabbi end his involvement with Nachal Hareidi?” the interviewer asked, referring to the government-appointed Perry Committee plan to require hareidi men to enlist and consider their non-enlistment a criminal offense..

Rabbi Shwartz answered, “It’s not that I will end my involvement – everyone will end their involvement. Nobody will enlist. There will be no more Shachar Kachol, no Netzach Yehuda, nothing.”

“The military has realized that if it wants to enlist hareidi men, it has to give them what they need in terms of religious observance,” he continued. “With Netzach Yehuda, the army has met all of the conditions for the past 14 years. As long as it’s under the supervision of rabbis and it’s possible to keep Torah and mitzvoth [commandments – ed.], you have enlistment.”

“If that’s not there – it’s over,” he warned. “Nobody will dare to enlist.”

He suggested that enlistment stop already. “If parents were to ask me, I would tell them to wait for now, until it becomes clear whether the state wants to be a true partner to all of its citizens, or to compel its citizens using force,” he said.

“If it wants to compel its citizens with force – we won’t be there,” he concluded.