In light of the recent controversy surrounding the new draft laws in Israel, MK Tzvi Succot (Religious Zionist Party) told Channel 12 News that the haredi public should not have to apologize for the budgetary support for Torah study in a Jewish state.
He also stated that a military infrastructure was needed to support the haredi public which would allow a father to send his son to the IDF and not worry about spiritual damage, despite the inevitable fears for the soldiers’ health.
“We need to remember that this is something that has not been solved for seventy years. Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, also known as the Chazon Ish, and [David] Ben Gurion didn't manage it, and we will not solve this problem in a day either. Nevertheless, specifically during wartime, we have the chance to start fixing this, and I think that Minister [Bezalel] Smotrich is very much in the right in this regard. There are many in the haredi community who want to enlist, and if we can create a dialogue of trust and communication, this could bring many of them to realize that desire.’’
“We are facing a culture that for seventy years has lived in a certain way, and to tell them that they can change in a single day is exceptionally arrogant. Our mission is to make the change in Israeli society because what was true seventy years ago is no longer.”
He commented on the practical process needed to bring haredim into the IDF, or some other form of national service: “The most important thing for us is to create places in the IDF in which the haredi public feels that it can send its sons without risk of spiritual damage."
He also said that he does not believe that there would be any benefit in trying to force haredim to enlist: “We will only fill the prisons and create an anti-state. There is a social problem here that we need to solve, and the way to do so is through creating suitable infrastructures.”
Regarding the relationship between Torah study and IDF service, Succot stated: ‘’A Jewish State supporting Torah study is a good thing. I know many who study Torah who also enlist in the IDF, and most of them do full service. There is no contradiction between Torah study and military service, and supporting Torah study is not something that we should be apologizing for. We are not going to tell the haredi public to stop learning Torah. I think that the Torah is a supreme value, but we still must undertake this process in the haredi public."