Learning that three of the activists are serving soldiers, the Boyaner Hasid yells, “Leave the army and tell them we’re Jews, not goyim.” He tells them: “Do you know why [Israel’s enemies] are not killing us now? Because we’re learning in yeshiva, only because of that.”
The Forward today has an interesting article about a small group of haredim who serve in Israel's military and who have taken it upon themselves to post wall posters, pashkvils, in haredi neighborhoods urging haredim to enlist and serve. The wall posters use biblical quotes and citations from Jewish law – for example, "In a milhemet mitzva [religiously mandated war of defense; this category of war includes almost every war Israel has ever fought of defense, and its anti-terrorism efforts now] everybody goes [to join the military and fight the war], even a groom from under his wedding canopy.” (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 44b, and Maimonides Mishne Torah, Hilkhot Melachim 7:4)
Haredim react as you might expect to these wall posters, even though they match theh look and linguistic style of their own wall posters: they rip them down. In fact, posting them is so dangerous the group has to do it late at night and in the wee hours of the morning, and sometime has to resort to throwing the posters out a car window because stopping to post them is too dangerous.
An encounter the group has with a Boyaner hasid in Jerusalem during one of these late night wall poster missions is telling, not just of the haredi reaction to the group and its message, but of the bizarre belief system haredim rely on to justify their rabbinically mandated mass evasion of military service:
…Just before 2 a.m. in a different part of Geulah, posters are being stuck, when a member of the Boyaner Hasidic community appears and politely asks for copies of them. The activists believe that he is interested in their campaign. He walks in the same direction as they drive, and appears again at their next stop. “You’ll pay for this with your life and your soul,” he suddenly shouts, telling them that he has arranged for Hasidim to remove the posters. “The Zionists want to do nothing except take our religion away.”
Learning that three of the activists are serving soldiers, the Boyaner Hasid yells, “Leave the army and tell them we’re Jews, not goyim.” He tells them: “Do you know why [Israel’s enemies] are not killing us now? Because we’re learning in yeshiva, only because of that.”…
Were haredim not studying in yeshivas in 1967 or 1973? Had they stopped studying just before the wave of bus bombings and terror attacks a decade ago?
As I wrote for Newsweek / Daily Beast's Open Zion blog last week, it is a mass delusion.
One of the group putting up the pro-IDF-enlistment wall posters explains how IDF service is really viewed in haredi homes:
…Mordechai, 22, speaks of the double life he leads, residing in a flat in Jerusalem and going about his military duties, and then returning on weekends to his family home in the Haredi settlement of Modi’in Illit, where he does not speak of his service. His father is a respected rabbi and head of a kollel, or communal Talmud study center, where hardly anybody knows of his son’s secret. The ultimate fear among the small number of Haredim serving, says Mordechai, is that service brings disrepute on families and makes it hard for any members to arrange marriages, or shidduchim.
One of nine children in his family, Mordechai said sadly, “In every family…[enlistment] causes problems for shidduchim…. I have several friends [who enlisted] who can’t go back to their parents, and their parents don’t want to talk by phone — they even sat shiva.”…
It is nearly identical to how child sexual abuse is viewed in many of those same homes. The victims are penalized and sometimes completely cut off from their families by their families who blame the victims for the sexual abuse – not the sexual abusers.
It is a mass delusion, the kind you will find in destructive religious cults. More and more, it becomes clear that is exactly what haredism is.