Rabbi Dov Lando
Rabbi Dov LandoPinchas Emanuel

Rabbi Dov Lando, one of the leaders of the Lithuanian haredi community, instructed yeshiva students not to report to IDF conscription offices, "not even after the initial summons."

Rabbi Lando’s instruction is included in a letter to yeshiva students which appears in Thursday’s edition of the haredi Yated Ne'eman newspaper.

"We cannot rely on agreements and understandings with the leaders of the army, as their hands are tied using iron chains by the judges, and any compliance with the decrees of the courts constitutes submission to their war against God and His Torah," wrote Rabbi Lando in the letter.

"For years there was an understanding with the military authorities here in Israel that yeshiva and kollel students would not enlist, and therefore, under the directives of the great rabbis of the generation, they (the yeshiva students -ed.) cooperated with the military authorities to legally arrange the deferment, which included reporting to the military offices to receive the status of a yeshiva student," he added.

"Now the situation is that the courts have declared war against the world of Torah, and they are the ones who have opened a front and came to change the arrangement that existed for years and ordered the army to begin the actual conscription process of yeshiva students," continued Rabbi Lando.

He stressed in his letter that "the instruction to yeshiva students is not to report at all to the conscription offices, and not to comply with any summons whatsoever."

Rabbi Lando’s letter follows a decision by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to approve the IDF's recommendation to issue the first recruitment orders to young haredim next month, "in accordance with the IDF’s absorption and screening capabilities, and after a significant process of refining the existing data regarding possible recruits is carried out.”

In addition, Gallant approved an information campaign aimed at informing the haredi population of their options for army and national service.

Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi stated that "this is an operational need and a complex social issue" that requires the IDF to ensure that haredim are allowed to maintain their religious lifestyle even in the military while greatly increasing the numbers of haredim who are drafted as other sectors of Israel society are.

The announcement came after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously last month that "at this time, there is no legal framework which allows differentiation between yeshiva students and others who are eligible for enlistment."

The ruling effectively ended the longstanding practice that haredi yeshiva students would be exempt from being drafted into the IDF.