Gantz: Israeli Army Can Handle Mass Chareidi Induction

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benny-gantzIsrael Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz commented Wednesday that everyone should serve in the military, in response to a High Court decision to annul a law that had exempted Israel’s chareidim from compulsory military service.

“Mechanisms can be set up so that in a complex reality, the IDF and the security service can have a choice, but everyone can and should serve,” Gantz said.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, asked how the military would prepare for the absorption of thousands of chareidi soldiers who would be compelled to serve in the absence of the law, replied “the IDF will know how to deal with large-scale mobilization in the required time frame.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the “Tal Law will not be renewed in its present form. Three governments have passed the Tal Law and my government did not. I don’t criticize it, I am just stating a fact: There was a reality at one time, and that reality did not address the question of making sure that all of society carries the burden equally. A new reality has formed in the state of Israel in the last decade, and the law no longer relates to that new reality.”

Interior Minister and chairman of the Shas party told Army Radio on Thursday that the government would have no choice but to extend the Tal Law for one more year, despite the High Court ruling.

“There are two battalions waiting to be enlisted,” Yishai said. “The IDF is not enlisting them because of lack of funds. There are hundreds of chareidim waiting to join the civil service but they are being turned away because there aren’t enough slots.”

Yishai also told the weekly “Bamishpacha” that “it is important to know and make clear that in any situation, and in any political, constitutional and legal reality, the students of Torah will remain in the study halls. There will not be even one young man who will have to leave the study of Torah because this law was annulled. We, as the public’s representatives, must make sure of that.”

Upon the law’s annulment, Netanyahu faced the unwelcome possibility of a coalition crisis. The court’s ruling addresses an issue that is at the center of a simmering cultural war between religious and secular Jews, and adds to Netanyahu’s headaches as he prepares to travel to the White House for critical talks about Iran’s nuclear program.

The draft exemptions have increasingly become a touchstone issue among Israel’s secular majority, which is required to do up to three years of compulsory military service. More than 60,000 religious men were granted exemptions last year, permitted instead to study in seminaries while receiving welfare grants. In its ruling, the court said it sought to divide Israel’s burdens equally among its citizens.

The decision threatened to shake up Netanyahu’s government by forcing it to deal with the issue and come up with a new system. Both chareidim and fiercely secular parties sit in his coalition, and the court ruling could force Netanyahu to choose sides.

Politicians have already started working on alternatives to the Tal Law, which expires on Aug. 1. A proposal initiated by Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem is already beginning to win widespread support. Under Rotem’s plan, fixed quotas would be established for chareidi men who would be allowed to study Torah instead of serving, in the same way a handful of exceptional athletes and students are currently exempted from military service in order to pursue their craft. Everyone beyond these quotas would be compelled to serve, including Israeli Arabs.

Another alternative, suggested by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his Independence party, stipulated that the IDF would decide who to enlist and everyone else would be sent for national service or to study at a yeshiva (religious school).

On Wednesday, Kadima initiated a bill on the subject of military and civil service for all, but nearly half of the party’s voting members were absent. Among Knesset members, 40 voted against, and 23 supported it.

During the vote, party chairwoman and opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that “this legislation isn’t against the chareidim. We don’t want civil war but we will not yield.”

Young people on both sides of the spectrum — both religious and secular — do not believe that the current situation will change right away. “There is no way that we will suddenly leave the yeshivas and enlist. Whoever thinks so is just out of touch with reality,” said Yair, a yeshiva student in Bnei Brak.

High school students, soon to be drafted, also voiced frustration and planned to demonstrate Thursday evening. They were planning to march from Tel Aviv’s military headquarters to the Tel Aviv Museum Plaza, where they were to hold a rally decrying chareidim draft-dodging.

“The time has come to ‘get your hands dirty’ and go out into the field,” one commentator wrote on the Facebook page for the demonstration. “After the strike in schools and the demonstrations in Jerusalem, and the buzz created by the government, we will not remain indifferent … We, the youth, are done with having only half of the Israeli population bear the burden. We, those who stand to be drafted next year into the IDF and serve this country, will not stand for a law that discriminates between blood and blood.”

{Israel Hayom/ Newscenter}


  1. It is only because of those that really study Torah in Israel, that they are safe. Torah is what keeps and saves us!
    They speak of compelling every Torah scholar to be drafted. Chutzpah, because we know that all the draft dodgers, and their stupid excuses, have been the leftists and the children of leftists, who do not want to serve because they love the enemies more than they love the Jews and do not have any special love for Eretz Yisrael. Now they dare to demand for chareidim to join, and many have, but then make things difficult for them as we have seen lately. The real reason for this claptrap is to ‘secularize’ Israel, and the chareidim and the nationlist religious from the heartland of Yehuda/Shomron are a thorn in their sides.
    Both Torah (always first) and military defense is the true Jewish way. Both united, then there is nothing less than victory.

  2. he’s saying that everyone has to “share the burden”
    OK, Bibi, good point, how about you and the chilonim share the burden of learning Torah & keeping mitzvos ?

  3. he’s saying that everyone has to “share the burden”
    OK, Bibi, good point, how about you and the chilonim share the burden of learning Torah & keeping mitzvos ?

    The French have a very good proverb:

    On ne trappe pas des mouches avec le vinaigre – or, in Yiddish: “You don’t catch flies with vinegar”.

  4. This is a joke: only one third of the population of Israel serve in the IDF.

    There are tons of chilonim too who dodge the draft.

    End the draft all-togehter and create a volunteer army.

    Result > Everybody’s happy!

  5. #5,Anonymous: Torah in Eretz Yisrael is what keeps the Jews safe. The chareidim also work; they own shops and do service work. In their neighborhoods, who does the mainentance and fixing, etc., etc. Many of them live very simply and don’t need all the materialism that we have been accustomed to. This whole FARCE of them not entering the IDF is just that, a farce. When many have recently enlisted into the special units for chareidim, the higher ups just did as they pleased anyway and went against the wishes of the chareidim, which, of course, automatically would lead to a down turn of enlistment. The real reason is to get as many of these chareidim away from learning Torah which is the lifeblood of Judaism. Remember, many of the chareidim do not accept the State as legitimate from its beginning. Wake up and realize that there is a determined effort to create a secular Israel!
    The true way of defense in Israel is the Torah and its defensive army, united as one mind and heart.


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