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SOS says: Let’s Scathe Through, shall we?

The question of whether or not Israel should recognize—and fund—the right of yeshiva students to pursue their Torah studies rather than join the army has been a political hot potato since at least the 1970s…

Given that tens of thousands of Haredi men do no Torah study of any actual meaning or value – they lack the motivation/intelligence/training to do little other than show up in a building occasionally and hang around open books – the writer misstates the problem. It’s sweet that he assumes that we assume that all male babies born into this population transform into Torah scholars. But since we have eyes in our heads, we do not assume this. Because we know it is not true.

[T]here are already 6,000 Haredi men serving in the army … hundreds of them are combat soldiers, and … they volunteer in such solid and consistent numbers … the IDF saw fit, in 1999, to establish an independent battalion just for Haredi soldiers, called Netzah Yehuda.

Netzah Yehuda is nothing to be proud of. The US gov has singled this unit out for sanctions, so atrocious has its conduct been in the West Bank. And who can be surprised? A subculture taught to consider pretty much everyone not an ultraorthodox Jew pretty close to subhuman can’t be trusted with serious weaponry. Unless you don’t care about the law of warfare.

And the IDF didn’t create a unit just for Haredim cuz it was wowed by their solidity and consistency: Haredim are so unassimilably weird and demanding in their general and specific orientation (no mixing with women ever!) that nothing short of total segregation will work with them.

Indeed, “fully integrating Haredim into its ranks would require a wide array of logistical challenges—providing strictly kosher food, for example, or addressing concerns rising from coed military service—it currently cannot and does not want to address.” And why is it only the IDF that has to address ways of being that allow this group of Israelis to contribute to the Israeli state’s existential crisis? How about the Haredim meeting the army halfway, and, say, suspending strict observances for the duration of their service? Suspending their inhumane attitudes toward everyone not a member of their religious group?

OOOH, say their rabbis, that would be the first step to secularization.


The author goes on to argue that the war is going desperately badly — a position rather at odds with his initial argument that the Israeli court should leave an enormous population of unemployed young men alone.



At least 22 percent of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students under the age of 26 are illegally employed, in violation of the terms of their exemption from military service, a new study has found, appearing to undercut the community’s argument that its members do not enlist due to their total immersion in Torah study.

Margaret Soltan, July 2, 2024 6:07AM
Posted in: forms of religious experience, Scathing Online Schoolmarm

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