Bennett: Serving in the Army is a Mitzvah, Too


naftali-bennett Habayit Hayehudi’s head, Naftali Bennett, is pushing mitzvos. Well, kind of.

In his first remarks to the Knesset on Tuesday, the new MK asked his fellow MKs to join him as a “freier,” a term meaning a “sucker,” or, as Bennet explained, “a person who helps other people without anything in return.”

“My parents came to be freiers Our parents educated us to be freiers and do the right thing even if we have to pay a price. Let’s be freiers for the citizens of Israel,” he said.

He encouraged everyone to take a look at the Torah.

“”Torah study is not the property of the chareidim. It is of interest to all of us. It is what hashelped us survive for 2,000 years in golut.” Bennett said. “The chareidim are our brothers, but this situation cannot continue. Even you, my chareidi brothers, know not everyone learns Torah… My chareidi brothers, serving in the army is a mitzvah, too. I served with dear brothers who knew to carry a stretcher and learn Torah, run into the battlefield and open a page of Talmud.”

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. He doesn’t even understand that ‘frier’ is a term of derision.

    His mitzva means whatever he would like to do rather than the Torah. He is right, he’s the ultimate ‘frier’.

  2. It would be wonderful to see the Chareidi parties respond with an acknowledgement that it is not fair that a large percentage of the population risks their lives for the benefit of everyone whereas the Chareidim on wide scale do not.
    The Chareidim should come up with a sensible offer and show some good will. For instance, they should propose an acceptable and realistic cap on the number of Chareidim who defer beyond let us say the age of 22 or 24. And the majority of Chareidim should enlist by the age of 22 or 24.
    To simply say that only we share the burden of Torah learning and we will serve when all Israelis share in the burden of Torah study is unrealistic and insensitive. You cannot compare learning Torah, however holy and important, to risking one’s life for fellow Jews. Furthermore, the Army is a recognized mutual need for all Jews, secular and chareidi; learning Torah is a religious prerogative and cannot be imposed on secular people. This not how we do kiruv, nor is it how we would administer a theoretical religious state.

  3. The Netziv zt”l as a teenager was not a learner. Only after a certain ma’aseh took place did he begin his trek towards becoming the gadol ha’dor, the rosh yeshiva of Volozin who decided to close the yeshiva rather than fulfill the government’s insistance of including secular studies within the curriculum. Interestingly to note, because of this closure, all the other yeshivas were founded Mir, Slabodka etc. That’s why Volozin is called the MOTHER of all Yeshivas. This story repeats itself in every generation many times over. Our leaders became leaders only through COMPLETE dedication to limud ha’torah day and night. Sure it’s a big mitzvah to be involved with various needs of the tzibur however the torah teaches us “Im lo brisi, chukas shomayiom v’oretz lo samti”. As great as all the other mitzvos are, it is ONLY mesiras nefesh for learning torah yomom v’layla that has kept Am Yisroel alive throughout this terrible and painful galus. Yes we need an army to fight however by inducting bnei torah and causing great bitul torah, we then loose the purpose of creation. Torah is not a subject to be learned until one becomes proficient in it. Torah is actual life. Torah is the oxygen we breath. If air would be dependant upon a few scientists that produce it, would we insist on inducting them into the army? It’s a matter of knowledge. Obviously the leaders of medinas yisroel are not the leaders of Am Yisroel. The lapid’s come and go, but Torah is forever. Bitul Torah de’Rabim could Chas vesholom bring klal yisroel to a great sakana. That is why, throughout the galus and as recent as churban Europe, the first thing that the sonei yisroel did was to shut down the yeshivos and shuls. For even the goyim realize that klal yisroel with out large multitudes of torah learners becomes very vulnerable and much easier to ……. chas vesholom.
    Bchol dor vedor oymdim aleinu. This is not the first time that those attempting to destroy us think they are doing letovas klal yisroel are from our own, history is repeat with this scenario. V’Hakadosh Boruch Hu matzileinu miyadam. Amen keyn Yehi Ratzon.

  4. Matzav,
    You are nothing more than a propaganda outlet; I posted a respectful and thoughtful post and you still have not approved it. I highly doubt that you will not edit it because it tells the truth.
    The truth, however, does not fit well with Matzav’s mission; only posts that support conventional “yeshivish” hashkafos do, no matter how absurd they may be or offensive.

  5. What a “straw man” argument! Bennett must be taking speech writing lessons from Obama.

    “(N)ot everyone learns TorahÂ…” Really? Not “everyone?” How about “the overwhelming majority of Jews learn ZERO Torah.” That is the sad but accurate reality. If we include EVERY daati leumi along with EVERY charedi and throw in a few masorti as learning regularly, that is — tops — 30% (and that, I think, is a VERY generous estimate).

    Torah “is what has helped us survive for 2,000 years in golut.” No. Torah is the ONLY reason for our survival. It is our entire purpose without which we have no reason to be. Our history has proven time and again that when Jews abandon the Torah they disappear from the pages of our history. Karaim were once 40% plus of the Jewish population. Where are they today? In America, reform membership in 1970 was over 3 million. Today, about 750 thou. What happened to them? They sure didn’t become frum!

    In the same vein he says “(Torah study) is of interest to all of us.” That’s like saying BREATHING is of interest to all of us. It is the very essence of our existence!

    I’m resisting all temptation to speculate what exactly he means by “of interest,” but, all said, can this man possibly be this ignorant?

    No, reb Naftali, “Torah study is not the property of the chareidim.” Neither do chareidim think so. However, they do think and know that they are the ONLY ones who do so in the numbers they do, with the dedication and mesirus nefesh and yiras shamayim they show. So until you and your buddy Yair Lapid (and the rest who wouldn’t know chumash if you smacked them over the head with one) pick up some of the slack, leave the chareidim be to pursue their holy studies.

    Their holy endeavours serve to preserve and protect the Jewish people AT LEAST as much as your beloved army… unless c”v you believe the IDF is more powerful than Torah!

  6. BTW, “freier”

    I’m not up on modern Hebrew but isn’t “freier” one who is “frei?” And doesn’t “frei” mean “free?” As in a “a frei yid” who is “free from the yoke of Torah?”

    So, if you think you are “frei” then, yes, I agree, you ARE a sucker!

  7. The Government has one interest and that is to uproot Torah R”. Anything else they may present is just sugar-coating do not be fooled.

    This has nothing to do with army service, it is merely another avenue that they are attempting to undermine Shmiras Torah umitzvos

  8. Bennett is young and will make mistakes but whether he was attacked by likud or shas he is dignified and a mentch and doesn’t respond in kind. He is trying to find a happy middle ground recognizes the primacy of torah and leading a torah lifestyle.

  9. To Concerned:

    Your arguments are not compelling, they are filled with half-truths, misstatemments, fallacies and are just plain wrong.

    1) Some people seem to think that every Israeli soldier is a paratrooper or a tank gunner. If the IDF is like any other modern, mechanized, hi-tech army then roughly roughly 7 out of eight are in non-combat roles: the cook, the ordely, the clerk, supply, radio operators, etc. If we assume for the IDF HALF that number, 44% will never see a shot fired in anger, even in time of “all-out” war. I don’t hear you complaining that they aren’t risking THEIR lives.

    (as an example, of US personnel actually deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan — i.e. NOT including support personnel back home and NOT including private contractors — only 40% were in combat roles, the rest were in logistics and admin)

    2) You also ignore other deferments, like the one given to law students and lawyers. Oh yes, Israel certainly needs more lawyers! And their sacrifice of pursuing a lucrative professional career is SO much more valuable than putting THEIR lives on the line, right?

    3) Torah study DOES save lives. Torah study is what preserves the Jewish people physically as well as spiritually. It is Torah study that can cause HaShem to rescinding a terrible decree, lo aleinu. If c”v the Eibishter became angry with the Jewish people and decreed a tochechah against us, the IDF, with all it’s might, could not divert His will. Torah study, on the other can.

    Further, if you ever spent time a real chareidi yeshiva/kollel/beis medrash and saw the energy and dedication of those learning; 12-18 hours a day of INTENSE learning, accepting a life of poverty, degradation, as objects of ridicule, scorn and even hatred to devote themselves to their holy task, you wouldn’t be so dismissive of their contribution.

    4) You argue that it is “unrealistic and insensitive” to expect the non-chareidim to share in Torah learning. Aside from the simple assertion… why? And why is it any MORE sensitive and realistic to expect chareidim to serve in the army? Strikes me as a double standard.

  10. 9, Steve: You said it all – you are 100% correct. Cannot understand how this simple answer evades most of the posters here and in other blogs. They’re working hard and fast to undo Yiddishkeit in every respect in Israel.

  11. Wow! Benett is mamesh a Tzaddik! He should run for Chief Rabbi instead of just an MK! Such a Talmud Chachom, we haven’t seen in years! Maybe we can say, he is the Moshiach!

  12. RSG:

    “Torah is the oxygen we breath. If air would be dependant upon a few scientists that produce it, would we insist on inducting them into the army?”

    Beautiful!! Kol HaKavod!!

  13. #11 has hit the nail on the head.

    This entire “share the burden” is a soothing term that plays on people’s emotions. But if they were truly interested in everyone “sharing the burden” or being penalized if they don’t, then why:

    1) Does it not bother them that Israeli Arabs are exempt – not granted deferements, exempt – from service as conscientious objectors? Why are they perfectly fine with Arabs who do not serve yet get full benefits, but charedim who learn Torah are vilified?

    2)Does it not bother them that media stars, athletes and others are exempt from service?

    3)Are they not complaining about the vast majority of families from mostly leftist areas like North Tel Aviv, who either get phony exemptions for their kids or make sure that they are “jobniks” and never see combat?

    4)Does it not bother them that manning the Galei Tzahal radio station is considered full service even though it entails nothing even resembling anything military?

    Just asking.

  14. To 17:
    Torah is really not the oxygen we breathe. It is not burned up. It is really the dignity of our own assets. And if we want to preserve Torah, we need to keep the State of Israel functioning too. However we decide to do that is tomorrows dilemma.

  15. reality check:

    All excellent points!

    One minor correction. In order to be a conscientious objector, one must otherwise be required to serve. Arabs are simply exempt.

    Israel remains the ONLY nation in the free world that does NOT allow CO status.

    The simple solution would be to recognize CO status. This would free those who wanted to do so to enter the work force. The seculars would never agree to this, of course, because then they would lose the “chareidim are an economic burden” argument. The real issue, of course, is not that they don’t serve in the army, not that they’re a burden but that they are chareidim!