Yerushalayim: Thousands Protest Proposal to Draft Yeshiva Bochurim


protest-yeshiva-draft-israelA few thousand Yidden gathered in Geulah, Yerushalayim, today, donning sackcloth and ashes in protest of the Israel government’s plans to draft yeshiva bochurim into the IDF.

The protest – called “Atzeres Sak Va’eifer”  – held in the early hours this morning at about netz hachamah was attended by men, women and children, led by rabbonim of the Eidah Hachareidis. Kikar Shabbos was jammed as Rav Moshe Shternbuch addressed the gathered crowd.

“We are the true soldiers of the Jewish people,” said the Raavad, referring to the thousands of lomdei Torah studying in yeshivos.”The only merit we have to be in this place is the merit of Torah and mitzvos, yet this they want to take from us.”

The Gaavad of the Eidah, Rav Yitzchok Tuviah Weiss, also spoke.

“This is our task, to teach our children the overriding values of Torah,” he said.

The protest was called due to the proposals of the Keshev Committee, which has been tasked with formulating a new law for the recruitment of chareidim into military and national service programs.

The Keshev Committee, headed by Kadima Mk Yohanan Plesner, was mandated by Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to draft a replacement for the Tal Law, which provided a legal framework for chareidi men to indefinitely defer military service to engage in limud haTorah. The Tal Law was ruled unconstitutional by the High Court of Justice in February and will expire on August 1. The Keshev Committee is expected to propose a bill to replace the Tal Law by this Thursday.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the Keshev Committee last week, proposing that 50 percent of eligibly aged chareidim be enlisted into the IDF, with remaining potential recruits going to civilian service programs. Barak said that the quota for those exempt from service on the basis of being exceptional talmidei chachomim should be no more than 10% of the total number of charedi men eligible for service in a given year.

Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz said that the goal of a more equal alternative to the Tal Law should be to draft 80% of eligible chareidim to either the IDF or National Service.

The Finance Ministry proposed to the committee that anyone who does not receive an exemption should be required to perform some form of national service. If they refuse, then they will be subject to financial penalties, such as the cancellation of housing benefits and municipal tax breaks.

Perhaps most importantly, the Finance Ministry is also proposing to change the method of funding so that yeshivos that encourage talmidim to serve will receive benefits where as yeshivos and other mekomos haTorah whose talmidim do not serve will lose state-provided funds.

{Yair Israel}


  1. How could the law be declared unconstitutional when “Israel” has no constitution? This is simply more leftist Jew-hating activism from the Israeli courts.

  2. Here are the facts of the matter…

    The State of Israel has approximately 6.4 million Jews. How many Rabbis and Yeshiva students should be on the payroll ?

    A Rabbi’s job includes : Officiating at services for Shabbat; Holy Days; Counselling, Mentoring; Being a fixed point of reference for a community; and assisting with life cycle events like births, shidduchs, weddings, brit milahs, bar/bat mitzvahs and deaths. If one Rabbi is needed per 1,000 people then this means Israel currently needs 6,400 “Doctors of the Law”. (Rabbis’ remuneration : 40 weeks p.a. at Shul; 4 weeks Training; 8 weeks Holiday. Pay $125,000 p.a.) You also need a reserve group of Rabbis to fill in when permanent Rabbis take a break from their shuls. (1,000 in number). You also need schochets, sofers and Rabbis skilled in divorce and funerals. (1,000 in number). Not all Yeshivah students go on to become Rabbis so let’s say 1,000 spots could be reserved p.a. for those interested in becoming Rabbis. Some attrition would be allowed to take place as people drop out of the course. Only the best and the brightest, like with scholarship programs in the West would be accepted. No more ersatz training by pseudo “important” institutions. Lastly you need a core group of head Rabbis, i.e. A Sanhedrin of 71, plus an administrative, management group to oversee the others of say 500. Total Rabbis/Yeshiva Students needed p.a. = Approx. 10,000 (Should Diaspora Rabbis be trained in Israel first ? Interesting question which would add to this number. Funding issues arise also.) So if the State/Kingdom is to fund the education of these yeshivah students the budget for this section of the population is limited. (The private/public partnership model of funding for Rabbis and institutions also has gotten messy. Too many crossed boundaries. The Sanhedrin, Rabbis and Yeshivah Students should be true “Public Servants”, not able to be or willing to be compromised.) These 1,000 Yeshivah Students would be exempted from national military service. It is all about getting the balance right.

    A nation or kingdom needs to constantly monitor what types of jobs are necessary to keep things ticking over. The financial relationship between the taxpayer sector and the dependent sector which includes : Special Needs People; The Elderly; Homeless; Prisoners; Sick and Injured; Infants; Adolescents; and Students also needs to be monitored and managed properly so that resentment doesn’t build between different sections. People don’t mind paying their taxes or contributing “a shekel to the upkeep of the Temple” if everyone is contributing to the best of their abilities.

    The key to a healthy economy and community is for everyone to contribute to the national effort in some way, shape or form. If everyone shares the load the burden becomes easier to shoulder.

    Also, if the State of Israel makes the right moves in the coming days, weeks and months then the existential threats will diminish and the defence budget will be able to be trimmed. (Think the Isaiah “Swords into plowshares” dynamic kicking in.) So the Tal Law issue is connected to the larger geopolitical picture.

  3. Now, if there would only be normalcy within our people, in an instant things would change! The chareidim and the religious nationalists (settlers, etc.) MUST unite. Unity (Achdut) is the key! This is what Hashem wants of us. United, the Torah Jews will win. The erev rav have a stranglehold, not only on the religious, but also on the whole nation of Israel, meaning even world Jewry! They are in control and the best way to overcome their wickedness, is unity among the Yirei Hashem and Torah Jews! Together, they make up a large percentage of Jews and if united, we will see how even traditional Jews will join them. All emmesser yidden are very unhappy with the situation for the last two decades, but achdus is the only way to overcome this nightmare. Hashem will then show us nissim v’niflaot and vanquish all our enemies. Geulah has started!

  4. And to make up for the loss of limud hatorah, the merit of which keeps us going, 10% of Chilonim should be drafted into the Yeshivoth to sit and learn. After all it’s equality they’re after.Now since the Chilonim chosen may be unhappy with this arrangement, they can find a Ben Torah to take their place. This may just take care of the problem. Unless of course, there are too many Chiloni exemptions.