Michael Biton (Blue and White), Civil and Social Affairs Minister at the Ministry of Defense, held a meeting with leaders of the Netzach Yehuda Association, an organization that supports haredi soldiers in the IDF, on Wednesday. Among those attending the meeting were Yossi Levy, Netzach Yehuda Association CEO, Shaya Shushan, Deputy CEO, and Jewish-American businessman and philanthropist David Hager, one of the key supporters of recruiting haredim into the IDF.
The meeting dealt with integrating young haredi draftees into a military framework that is suitable to their lifestyle, as well developing new opportunities for haredi IDF graduates.
“We look at the story of Chanukah as the holiday that celebrates the miracle of the oil, but it’s the story of individuals who stood by the courage of their spiritual convictions,” Biton said. “It’s the story of Matityahu HaCohen's children who said, ‘God’s Torah is important to us, but we will know how to fight.’ You, the warriors of Netzach Yehuda (Nahal Haredi), are the Maccabees of our time."
"It’s an honor for me to turn to today’s Netzach Yehuda (Nahal Haredi) fighters and their supporters who have done a brave thing: On the one hand they maintained their religious and spiritual identity, and on the other, they served their country and sprung to life,” he added. “You are now a community of 13,500 Netzach Yehuda alumni, you are strong and powerful. The first battalion was made up of thirty soldiers – and suddenly we’ve reached 13,000. This is just the beginning. You are the future of the State of Israel, guarantors of our national security. I am proud of everyone who leads the organization, of those who contributes to it, of David Hager and all the professionals. In the name of the Defense Ministry, thank you. "
Biton added: "We will expand this track to additional units, including Golani (Infantry), Armored Corps, and the Air Force. We will work together and build communities of Netzach Yehuda graduates, because you are the future of the State of Israel!"
In thanking Minister Biton for his support, Netzach Yehuda Association CEO Levy said: "It is especially important at a time when the draft law is back on the table, that the government make an effort to invest in those who do choose to enlist in the IDF without compromising their haredi identity. This is not just about those who serve in regular service, but also military graduates who wish to have a profession after their release. We are now working to establish a centralized community for the thousands of graduates - this is a real social revolution and the bridge between the IDF and the haredi public."