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Ultra-Orthodox Jews Protest in Jerusalem, Vow to Defy Draft

World  (tags: world, Israel, religion, politics, military service, secularism, orthodoxy, freedoms, society, politics, world )

- 1834 days ago -
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested in Jerusalem on Thursday against plans to enlist men from their community into the military, a proposal supported by the secular majority pushing for a more equal share of the burden on Israeli society.

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Carol H (229)
Friday May 17, 2013, 5:04 am
noted, thanks Cal

Past Member (0)
Friday May 17, 2013, 6:37 am

Past Member (0)
Friday May 17, 2013, 9:00 am
I have to agree Unless you are disabled too old etc then you should not have an exemption Its only fair In biblical times they had to fight Israel needs everyone it can get being surrounded by enemies

noted thanks

Past Member (0)
Friday May 17, 2013, 9:17 am
Israel is under siege; if you want to call her your home and enjoy your freedoms, including religious freedom, you have a duty to fight and defend her. Remember the millions of victims of heinous persecution ~ they had no home or rights ~ they were your mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.. We can never forget and we can never let that happen again.

Past Member (0)
Friday May 17, 2013, 10:14 am
Interesting. Most European countries have now eliminated the draft. Maybe they could just call in National Service and split the two groups, one for the military, the second for more peaceful purposes.

Past Member (0)
Friday May 17, 2013, 10:22 am
My respect for these people has diminished. What annoys me even more is the Orthodoxy's acceptance of Russians into Israel under the Nuremburg Laws which state that if only 1 grandparent is Jewish then the person has a right to come to the country, BUT, when a Russian wants to marry they are put through the most rigorous hurdles to prove they are Jewish enough. As one rabbi said, we are lucky to have the Russians in the army because they are good soldiers [paraphrased]. SO, it's alright to let the Russians fight and die for Israel but don't let them marry into the community! You can guess which finger I am pointing, can't you?

Winn A (179)
Friday May 17, 2013, 12:11 pm

Past Member (0)
Friday May 17, 2013, 8:39 pm
Israel wants everyone else to fight for them! They will use anyone and any means they can to have their country defended...but not themselves because they consider themselves too "holy". I'm tired of wiping Israel's butt! If they want to have their country protected, THEY have to help. We were drafted to protect the US and just about every other country in the world! My Grandfather fought in WW2, my Dad in Korea, one brother in Germany, and another brother in Vietnam. And nearly ALL of my friends went "willingly" to the Gulf War and the current war! Fight this siege or let the Palestinians have Israel. Stop warring against Palestine. On and on and on it goes!

Jason S (50)
Friday May 17, 2013, 8:43 pm
Good posting, thanks

Robert Hardy (68)
Friday May 17, 2013, 10:09 pm
Everyone wants what is best for themselves.

Melody Long (1)
Friday May 17, 2013, 10:54 pm
Good article. Noted, and thanks.

Dana B (140)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 6:56 am
Good info, thank you

. (0)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 7:16 am
Good for them! The military should not be pushing ultra-orthodox Jews to do anything. They need to leave them alone and let them worship.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 12:51 pm
Noted. Thanks, Cal. Interesting.....divisiveness within Israel, and protests met with violence by authorities.

Helle H (21)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 12:54 pm
If they would stay on the land they were given they wouldn't need a military. The Gipsies didn't get anywhere to live and they also suffered from the war.

Esther S (45)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 1:10 pm
Lynn Price, Israel does not want everyone else to fight for them. Most of the (both men and women) in Israel are more than willing to fight for their country. This group is a very small number of Israelis. They are only supposed to be about 10% of the Israeli population. They are so very wrong but they don't represent most all of the Israelis and it seems that they want the rest of the Israelis to do everything for them.

Colleen L (3)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 1:25 pm
Good article. Thanks Cal

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 1:57 pm
Parasites that give all hard working Jews a bad name. Ef 'em.

Past Member (0)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 2:07 pm
Good for the Ultra-Orthodox Jews!

Birgit W (160)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 2:49 pm
Everybody should be able to do what they believe in. Nobody should have to go to the military and be ordered to kill people.

Past Member (0)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 3:31 pm
I do agree with you on that point, Birgit.

Past Member (0)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 3:32 pm
"You cannot currently send a star to Birgit because you have done so within the last day."

Judith Hand (55)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 3:38 pm
Noted. they've the right to do.

Patricia Martin (19)
Saturday May 18, 2013, 8:47 pm
Ways should and could be found for Ultra-Orthodox to help with the country, be it doing civilian work for the army or whatever.

This is really an internal affair, but it doesn't take much for people like Lynn to flip out and not really pay attention to the issues.

paul m (93)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 5:36 am

Past Member (0)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 9:55 am
Lynn, my dear friend, you can't be expected to understand this issue. These people are a parasitic minority who tax Israel's resources. They have a very strong sense of entitlement and fully expect every benefit, service, and protection and yet feel no obligation to contribute positively to Israeli society

Patricia Martin (19)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 3:52 pm
Trying to post a third time....

I wouldn't go as far as calling them parasitic, because that sounds a little too antisemitic. I would definitely say that their status quo is unsustainable, and because it is, if significant changes aren't made, they will fall hard under their own weight and be their own victims. To a certain degree, I think their over-stressed wives and children already are.

While I think I can appreciate their desire for insularity, I think creative thinking can and should be done to find ways for them to be more productive economically, help the country militarily and still retain a great degree of their insularity. Jewish history is filled with examples of great Torah scholars who worked for a living yet still devoted a lot of their time to religious studies and shared their knowledge with the people, and this was the norm. This is not the model the Ultra-Orthodox are presently working with.

Also, if they hope to do anything but the most menial jobs, they should allow some some hard science and math into the children's student's curricula, which really need not threaten their world view, especially if they hold people Maimonides in high esteem.

The writing's on the wall, and they can either choose to be pro-active in shaping their own future or they will suffer sociological consequences that will be extremely difficult for them to bear.

Cal, I don't believe this was a good subject to put on Causes. The overwhelming majority of Causes people are clueless and will draw very unsubstantiated and dangerous conclusions.

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday May 19, 2013, 4:09 pm
There are a few relevant things not mentioned in the article:

First, the religious exemption from military service was part of the deal that got ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities on board with Zionism in the first place. While they were a tiny minority decades ago, failing to get them to join would have had a massive impact on support for Israel among Jews globally. they got the exemption, funding for religious studies, and control over domestic law among Jews in Israel. Since then, however, their birth-rates have been far greater than those of the overall Jewish population. The cost of supporting them became substantial, and in the proportionate democratic system, they became able to effectively sell their votes in exchange for greater funding for their own communities, and play kingmaker in Israeli politics. (This happened primarily through the Shas political party.) Between that, and the changes in global norms of welfare, the cost of supporting them has grown far beyond the original cost of the deal.

Second, there are Arab/Israeli politics at work here: The additional support appears in statistics comparing government-spending in Jewish and non-Jewish communities. This is a political problem for Israel. The bill that brings the ultra-Orthodox into the army, form what I understand, extends the draft by eliminating its recognition of religion, treating all religious groups the same, Jewish and non-Jewish. In Israel, the army is a major social institution, and non-participation in it by most non-Jews (while they could still volunteer, they were not drafted and the army was not required to accept them) has been seen as an impediment to social integration. Aside from that, there are problems raised by staffing-issues: The long lines for Palestinians at checkpoints arise in places where the checkpoints are under-staffed, and the army has a tough time dealing with religious communities (whether among settlers or elsewhere) because it lacks people who can work effectively as liaisons.

Third, ultra-Orthodox Jews, despite the extra money, have absolutely terrible worldly education-systems. The money gets spent on religious education. From what I understand, high school graduates from the religious schools are about on-level with ten-year-old children from the regular secular public schools. This failure is in a vicious cycle with non-participation in the labour force: The lack of education prevents employment from becoming a norm, and as long as they don't have to face practical realities resulting from the lack of education, it goes unnoticed within their communities (which run their own schools). Bringing them into the army and forcing them to face how far behind they have fallen could help to break the cycle of parasitism.

Fourth, with their social norms which run contrary to doing certain jobs and lack of education, they are mostly unfit for roles like those of combat-arms. These conscripts will mostly be used, at least at first, to fill back-rank positions where they are very unlikely to draw weapons, and free up manpower for higher-responsibility positions.

The usual arguments against the draft are that the army is meant to fight enemies and stop threats, not be a tool of social engineering, and that it costs a lot to train soldiers. However, the Israeli army is apparently understaffed, and the lifetime-cost of training (and employing) ten soldiers for a few years is probably a lot lower than supporting six people who stay unemployed their whole lives (and their families).

Sheila S (50)
Monday May 20, 2013, 8:34 am
According to Pirkeh Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) the study of Torah leads to acts of kindness (among other good and gentle things.) How then can those who claim to be so dedicated to that study perform such acts of violence? Pure and simple, for those who adhere to the practice of Judaism, such behaviors are a "Shanda" (shameful act - often one that is harmful to or reflects poorly on the Jewish community as a whole.) If these 20,000 protesters were truly as committed to their studies as they claim, they would have neither the time nor the desire to "hurl bottles and stones at officers..." and ..."set alight garbage bins..."
I stand with Israel. It would be my hope that every able-bodied adult who claims that State as home, would do his/her part to protect and defend that nation from the forces which intend to destroy it.

Alexander Werner (53)
Monday May 20, 2013, 7:29 pm
Sheila, you are right that everyone has to serve its country, and this should be applied to both Orthodox Jews and to Arabs equally.

However, it is the duty of the army to accommodate special needs of its soldiers: all-male platoons, no unnecessary violations of dietary or behavioral laws, etc. I think as of now the government tries to push the changes by force instead of a dialog and cooperation.

When both sides come to senses, some mechanism will be worked out with no problems.

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