In response to numerous demonstrations throughout Israel in protest against the arrest of a yeshiva student who failed to register for IDF deferment, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to cancel government funding for the Ma’alot Hatorah and Grodno yeshivos, two of many yeshivos that reject all contact with the IDF in accordance with the ruling of Rav Shmuel Auerbach. Lieberman also warned of canceling the right for those yeshiva students to receive army deferment.
“I will not agree under any circumstances to ignore these riots and the severe incitement that took place against IDF soldiers,” Lieberman said. “The very existence of these protests which defy the army draft and undermine the state’s authority to enforce enlistment is unheard of and we will not tolerate such a thing. It is also an attempt to intimidate those who do want to enlist.”
A leading activist of the Yerushalayim Group, which follows Rav Auerbach’s leadership, said that Lieberman’s threat was “a crazy idea reminiscent of oppressive, anti-democratic regimes.”
MK Moshe Gafni of UTJ criticized the demonstrations.
“I had absolute shimush talmidei chachomim for twenty-four years,” Gafni exclaimed at a public meeting. “I never moved an inch without their instructions. We were never told to make a demonstration [without police permission], never!”