Sefardi haredi rabbis and rosh yeshivas (yeshiva deans) are afraid that Ashkenazi haredi leaders have found a way to misuse the proposed new draft law by using Sefardi haredi yeshiva students to fill the bulk of the newly proposed haredi draft quota while their Ashkenazi counterparts will be allowed to dodge the draft.
Sefardi Haredi Rabbis Fear Ashkenazi Counterparts Have Sold Out Sefardim Who Will Be Used To Fill Bulk Of Haredi Draft Quota While Ashkenazim Walk Free
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Sefardi haredi rabbis and rosh yeshivas (yeshiva deans) are afraid that Ashkenazi haredi leaders have found a way to misuse the proposed new draft law by using Sefardi haredi yeshiva students to fill the bulk of the newly proposed haredi draft quota while their Ashkenazi counterparts will be allowed to dodge the draft, Yeshiva World reported based on a report in the Israeli daily newspaper Ma’ariv.
“The Sefardim will be used to fill induction quotas because they do not have anyone to fight on their behalf,” the head of the Sefardi haredi Badatz Yoreh Deah, Rabbi Shlomo Machpud, reportedly told Ma’ariv.
Machpud’s fears center around the fact that the Sefardi haredi Shas Party, which Machpud backs, has only one man on the Knesset committee drafting the new law, former Housing Minister Ariel Atias, who Machpud called “a mezuzah who won’t have strength against the others [on the committee, like the Ashkenazi haredi UTJ Party MKs Rabbi Moshe Gafni and Meir Porush].”
Machpud said that Gafni, Porush and other UTJ leaders have publicly said “they will burn the streets down” if the Knesset passes a law that mandates criminal penalties for haredim who dodge the draft, but are willing to accept economic penalties for haredi draft dodging if necessary. This has caused Machpud to believe that the induction quotas for haredim needed to avoid most of those proposed economic penalties will be met by drafting Sefardi haredi yeshiva students.
An unnamed “haredi source” who reportedly was involved in current Knesset committee’s efforts and in previous Knesset efforts to write the new draft law reportedly told Ma’ariv that the rosh yeshivas top tier Ashkenazi haredi yeshivas do not believe their students will actually be drafted and forced to serve in the IDF because the new law will set an annual haredi draft quota that will not be based on individual yeshivas – meaning the quota could be pulled from haredi yeshiva dropouts, from the low-level haredi yeshivas where students are themselves ‘low-level,’and from Sefardim.
Rabbi Shalom Cohen, who sits on the Shas Party’s Council of Torah Sages, reportedly shares Machpud’s fear that Sefardim will be used as fodder to fill the overall haredi draft quota.
“The haredi MKs worked hard to save the students from the Chevron, Ponevezh, and Mir yeshivas [the top three non-hasidic Ashkenazi haredi yeshivas in Israel], but sold out the Sefardi Torah world for the most part along with graduates of Sefardi education systems,” a Sefardi haredi source reportedly told the haredi news website Kikar HaShabbat.
Speaking to a conference of rabbis of Yemenite origin, Rabbi Aaron Hadash asked why Ashkeanzi haredim don’t fill their part of the quota the Yemenites and other Sefardim will.
“What do the Ashkenazi chareidim fear? We seek to fill the induction seats with ba’alei teshuvah and Sephardim from the distant communities,” Hadash said, meaning Sefardim would choose their own cannon fodder from those yeshiva students who were or who were from families who are Orthodox newbies and from small town country bumpkin Sefardim – not the Sefardi yeshiva students from true Sefardi haredi homes studying in good Sefardi haredi yeshivas. Why, Hadash was asking, can’t Ashkenazi haredim do the same thing with their own ba’al teshuvas and country bumpkins?
An unnamed UTJ figure denied the Ashkenazi haredi party had sold out Sefardim.
“We will fight for each and every [haredi] yeshiva student and it does not matter if he is Ashkenazi or Sephardi or what area in the country he is from,” the UTJ source told Ma’ariv.