The first IDF-linked ‘hesder’ yeshiva for haredim has received its approval from the Ministry of Defense and is now open. Sixteen students are reportedly enrolled in a four-year course that combines Torah study and military service.
First Haredi IDF Hesder Yeshiva Opens
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The first IDF-linked ‘hesder’ yeshiva for haredim has received its approval from the Ministry of Defense and is now open, the Jerusalem Post reported. Sixteen students are reportedly enrolled in a four-year course that combines Torah study and military service.
The new haredi hesder program is similar to the many Zionist Orthodox hesder programs that have existed for decades and is managed by the Derech Chaim Yeshiva located on the the campus of the Jerusalem College of Technology, better known as Machon Lev.
Students in the new haredi hesder program will serve 24 months in the IDF and 24 months in yeshiva. The two years of yeshiva study comes first and the two years of IDF service follows that.
But the haredi hesder students will take evening classes on cyber defense at Machon Lev. The cyber defense course was developed by the Cyber Defense Unit of the IDF and will reportedly provide approximately 1,000 hours of study over the two-year period.
Haredi hesder soldiers will serve their two years of IDF service in the army’s Cyber Defense Unit. But they won’t live on an army base – they’ll still live in their yeshiva dorm. (Soldiers in non-combat positions in the IDF often live off base.)
The majority of the 16 hesder students are reportedly children of parents who immigrated to Israel from the English-speaking countries and who went to modern-leaning haredi high schools whose students get Israeli high school diplomas – something haredi high school yeshivas generally do not do.
The haredi hesder students who are from mainstream haredi yeshivas “required remedial courses in core subjects such as math and English in order to obtain the required level for the academic courses,” the Post reported.
“We see ourselves as a bridge to allow men from the haredi world who want something different to learn Torah and serve the country at the same time,” one of the new haredi heseder yeshiva’s creators, Rabbi Karmi Gross, told the Post.
“We believe there are two ideals; one is sitting and studying Torah and the other is working and learning whenever you can, and both of these are desirable. Showing the beauty of Torah is a sanctification of God’s name and for haredim to go out and contribute towards society can help achieve this,” Gross added.