"You and I know no one is going to be inducted and that is the message of the rally. Don’t tell me that we did not warn you. No one is going to the army. I never before participated in such an event where the message was loud and clear, and no one is being drafted.…A student wishes to learn [Torah] and you think you and others are going to tell him to shut the Gemara? You obviously are not acquainted with this community. This is what Satmar does [i.e., dodge the draft], and no one has been successful to compel them to serve. It is not going to happen. It is that simple."
Member of Knesset Rabbi Yaakov Litzman
Haredi MK Says “Million Man” Haredi Anti-Draft Protest Proves No Haredi Will Even Be Drafted And Any Voluntary Haredi Enlistment In The IDF Is Over
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Member of Knesset Rabbi Yaakov Litzman of the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party was interviewed by Army Radio yesterday.
According to a report by Yeshiva World, Litzman praised Sunday’s haredi “Million Man” anti-draft protest and prayer rally – which drew only about 300,000 according to police estimates and slightly larger according to the non-haredi media, although haredi estimates ranged to as high as 800,000 – and insisted that it proves that no haredim will ever be drafted and that even haredim who have left yeshiva will not serve in the IDF.
Very few haredim currently serve in the IDF, and most IDF soldiers classified as haredim are actually ex-haredim, ba’al teshuvas, converts, right wing Zionist Orthodox and shabbabnikim (haredi teens who have been expelled from haredi yeshivas due to learning disabilities, substance abuse, or doctrinal issues or who left of their own accord, and now wander the streets in packs) – a fact the government and the IDF have tried desperately to hide.
But even that small number of actual haredim who would enlist won’t enlist anymore, Litzman claimed.
“Today it will not happen [that haredim will be drafted] and even those willing to go [to the army and enlist] will not as they understand haredi rabbinic leaders have prohibited serving in the IDF,” Litzman insisted.
"You and I both know criminal sanctions [in the proposed universal draft bill] are not because one is studying Torah, but because one refuses to comply with the draft"
"You and I know no one is going to be inducted and that is the message of the rally. Don’t tell me that we did not warn you. No one is going to the army. I never before participated in such an event where the message was loud and clear, and no one is being drafted.
"It is absurd. Let’s say someone wants to enter the army, he must enter the IDF for 36 months. [Zionist Orthodox] hesder [yeshiva students], however, serve for 17 months. Can you explain this to me?"
"What are you proud of, that your community does not serve in the army? This is something to be proud of?"
"It is a pride of a commitment to Torah as the supreme value. One cannot do both. One who finishes learning should do as he sees fit but for as long as you are learning you cannot serve in the IDF, too, and reach the same level [of Torah knowledge]."
"So are you saying hesder is a farce? They don’t learn?"
"What are you talking about? A student wishes to learn [Torah] and you think you and others are going to tell him to shut the Gemara? You obviously are not acquainted with this community. This is what Satmar does [i.e., dodge the draft], and no one has been successful to compel them to serve. It is not going to happen. It is that simple.
"By the way my gripe is not with [Finance Minister Yair] Lapid but with [Economy, Diaspora and Religious Services Minister Naftali] Bennett and [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. Elections will be sooner rather than later. The average middle class, the working man, will not vote for Lapid again. He has had his moment and I for one do not have complaints against him because he is not qualified, does not understand finance, so what can one expect of him? He never learned [Israel’s secular] core subjects!"
[This dig at Lapid is meant to be sarcastic. In reality, Lapid had a normal secular education. Haredi yeshiva students, however, get no secular education at all or only a very partial, weak secular education. Israel has been trying to force haredi yeshivas to comply with the law and teach math, English, Modern Hebrew language, civics and other subjects so yeshiva graduates will have a better chance of finding work if they leave full time yeshiva study. Haredi leaders, including Litzman, have done everything in their power to block that attempt. Litzman is attempting to say that Israel’s economic slowdown was not prevented by Lapid’s secular education. Of course, Litzman fails to note that experts from the previous and current Bank of Israel governors to independent economists to the OECD have repeatedly warned that widespread haredi refusal to work was seriously damaging Israel’s economy.]