Parents of IDF Soldiers Bent Out of Shape Over Peres’ Remarks at Ponovezh

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peresStatements made by President Shimon Peres yesterday in favor of exempting yeshiva bochurim from IDF service has sparked furor among “anti-draft-dodging” activists. The Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden sent a harsh protest letter to the president today.

During his visit at Yeshivas Ponevezh [as reported here], Peres said, “I am very proud that the State and the IDF have agreed to release the young people who are dedicating their lives to their studies.”

Forum chairwoman and mother to a combat soldier Miri Baron wrote in the letter, “We marvel at your statements which encourage discrimination between the blood of our children and the blood of charedim, encourage draft-dodging among secular youth, support the Arab-Israelis’ refusal to engage in civil service and mainly hurt soldiers both materially and morally.”

Baron urged Peres to make his stance be known publicly. “In your statements you are compromising the principles on which the State of Israel was created, hurting democracy and mainly sabotaging social solidarity.”

Peres’ statements also prompted anger among other parents from the forum. “We are astounded at the president, who could have served as a mediating figure in society and instead has chosen to take a unilateral stance which has significantly hurt soldiers and their families,” Dana Halpern, the mother of a combat officer, told Ynet.

Retired Captain Roi Ron, chairman of the Baltam reserve troops foundation also condemned Peres. “The president’s remarks are outrageous. His statements might have been valid in 1948 when only 400 haredim were given an exemption. In the current security climate, in light of the Iranian front on one end and the Syrian-Hezbollah front on the other, no person should make statements legitimizing the exemption of tens of thousands of haredim from military service, particularly not the president.”

The president’s communications director Ayelet Frish stated in response, “President Shimon Peres endorses full IDF service and promotes together with the security establishment comprehensive plans to recruit charedim to the army and their training.

“During his visit in Bnei Brak the president referred to prime minister David Ben Gurion’s historic decision to allow a limited number of citizens to attend yeshivot. One should not read anything else into this statement.”

Frish further noted that Peres’ stance regarding the recruitment of members of the charedi sector in the army has not changed over the years and pointed to a visit he held in the military indiction center on Sunday, during which he advocated combat service by all sectors of society.

{Ynet/Yair Israel}


  1. I am disturbed by the condescending headline to this article. Even if you disagree with the views of the “share the burden” group (as I do), how can you not empathize with mothers of soldiers risking their lives while they see Charedim who are exempt; and then to hear Peres’s blatant Chanifa on top of that. These are not people who had the privilege of a Torah upbringing, ridiculing them is not constructive in any way.

  2. Follow the link please. The headline is from, the original source of the story. So it is secular anti-religious Israelis characterizing the parents as “bent out of shape”

  3. Do plumbers get disturbed as accounting conventions? Do financial wizards get bent out of shape when electricians get together to discuss the newest installation devices? Different strokes for different folks, now and forever.

  4. The important thing is both thesoldiers and Yeshiva Bochrim understand that the Yeshiva fellows learning provides merit that protects the soldiers. Likewishe all should appriciate soldiers being in harm’s way in protecting the country. Each side shares the burden each side should learn to appriciate the other.

  5. One day the Sonay Shomray Torah Umitzvos will realize that if not for the people learning there would be no country in the first place!

  6. in 1948 the population was much smaller too.

    They complain now they would have complained then too.

    not all of them are learning full time and many religious are going to the army those that for whatever reason are not able to learn.

    A dimocracy allows for people to have the freedom to make their own decisions too. If someone is learning fultime what use will they be in the army. Someone with a brilliant mind should utilise it for learning and leadership. This isnt india no one is sitting meditating on top of a mountain, tearing themselves away from reality! No one complains there!


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