The yeshiva students claimed that they were not dealt with “in accordance with their haredi lifestyle” when they reported as required by law to the IDF recruitment office for their initial assessments. The rabbis are especially concerned about the medical exams that all recruits are given, especially that the IDF take steps to ensure that women nurses or women doctors do not examine yeshiva students.
The Jerusalem Post reports that haredi leaders were upset this week by complaints they received from some yeshiva students.
The students claimed that they were not dealt with “in accordance with their haredi lifestyle” when they reported as required by law to the IDF recruitment office for their initial assessments. The rabbis are especially concerned about the medical exams that all recruits are given, especially that the IDF take steps to ensure that women nurses or women doctors do not examine yeshiva students.
The more hardline Jerusalem-based haredi faction headed by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, who lost his bid for leadership of Ashkenazi haredim several months ago, ordered students not to report:
…Because of the concerns over the medical exams, warning notices were posted on Wednesday at several yeshivas associated with leading haredi figure Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach instructing yeshiva students not to present themselves at recruitment offices if so requested.
Such notices appeared at Maalot Hatorah Yeshiva, headed by Auerbach, as well as the Ponvezeh yeshiva, a leading haredi institution, and other yeshivot as well.…
The Council of Torah Sages, the supreme rabbinic body of Ashkenazi haredim headed by haredi leader Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, quickly published a notice responding to Auerbach's in the haredi newspaper they control, Yated Ne'eman:
“[F]ollowing the serious problems at IDF recruitment offices which have been reported, the issue is being examined and dealt with in full severity by representatives of United Torah Judaism.”
As such, there is no change in the instructions of the Council and yeshiva students should continue to present themselves to the IDF when requested…the notice continued.
The Council of Torah Sages ad also remined haredi yeshiva students that they should not sign any documents at the recruitment centers, and should instead follow the preexisting protcol set up by the umbrella organization of haredi yeshivas. That protocol has students report to special offices opened by the umbrella organization where they are given special haredi-drafted forms to sign that declare that they intend to continue to study in yeshiva full time, and that they will not serve in the IDF under any circumstances, in accordance with the staus quo agreement made between haredi leaders and the state's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.
The IDf reportedly told haredi politicians that it would investigate the reports and would draft guidelines dealing with yeshiva students' medical exams that respect haredi modesty requirements. It also promised to make every effort to avoid similar problems in the future.