Baron concluded by warning the law poses a threat to the religious Zionist hesder yeshivas as well, which he did not elaborate on. "I suggest to every dean of our [hesder] yeshivas to read the law carefully, and if they want to they are invited to contact me," Baron said when failing to explain what the threat to hesder yeshivas from the new draft law actually is.
Leading Zionist Orthodox Rabbi Doesn’t Want Haredim To Be Drafted, Thinks New Draft Law Is A Danger To Zionist Orthodox Yeshivas
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The former longtime chairman of the Association of Hesder Yeshivas, Rabbi Avraham Baron, was interviewed by the Zionist Orthodox right wing West Bank settler-controlled news website Arutz Sheva about the new military draft law that, at least on paper, compels haredi men to serve in the IDF for the first time.
Hesder yeshivas are Zionist Orthodox yeshivas in which students serve a shortened term in the IDF, almost always in combat units, and spend the rest of what otherwise would have been their active duty army service studying in yeshiva.
Baron reportedly said that he hopes that Israel’s Supreme Court would invalidate the new military draft law.
"I pray with all my heart that the Supreme Court will invalidate this law, because if not, we won't see even a single haredi enlist. The atmosphere of 'anti' [among haredim] will continue, and there will be a social and financial crisis that will enlarge the schism in the nation, and harm the state of Israel's potential to blossom," Baron – who had opposed any law drafting haredim before this new draft law was passed – said.
He also insisted that as long as the haredi rabbis do not endorse IDF service for their followers, haredim will not serve in the military – no matter what the law says.
"This law is really a dispute, the [haredi] rabbis have no faith in the army today, and it's a fact that no haredim are enlisting. In my period…there were thousands of haredim [in the IDF], then the rabbis had faith in the system, but they took their steps, and since then it all has started to deteriorate.
"If there won't be a clear call in the law saying whoever can sit and study Torah should study, the [haredi] rabbis won't cooperate. We need to create industrial peace for the rabbis, to create attractive paths for haredim to return the thousands of haredim that were in the army,” Baron insisted – failing to note that the haredi decision to not serve in the IDF dates back far further than he claims. Baron also failed to note that haredi enlistment was always minuscule, that very few haredim ever served in the IDF, and that many haredi rabbis opposed IDF service going back to 1948.
Baron – who is seen by some outside the Orthodox world as a shill for the right wing of Zionist Orthodoxy and for haredi yeshivas – also failed to note that many of the few haredim serving in the IDF a decade ago or even two years ago were really ex-haredim, ba’al teshuvas, converts and immigrants.
Arutz Sheva failed to note that Baron opposed the draft law before it was passed because he believes that any Jewish man who wants to study Torah full time should be allowed to do so and not serve in the IDF – not because haredi rabbis would ban their followers from enlisting – or that many of the claims Baron made during the interview were arguably false.
Why the apparent deception from Baron?
Arutz Sheva, even though it did not note that much of what Baron said was arguably false, gives us the answer.
Baron “concluded by warning the law poses a threat to the religious Zionist hesder yeshivas as well, which he did not elaborate on,” Arutz Sheva reported.
"I suggest to every dean of our [hesder] yeshivas to read the law carefully, and if they want to they are invited to contact me," Baron said when failing to explain what the threat to hesder yeshivas from the new draft law actually is.
All non-Orthodox Jewish male and female Israelis are required by law to serve in the IDF and face civil and criminal penalties for failure to do so.
Zionist Orthodox Israeli men are also required to serve, but can opt to do so in a hesder yeshiva program that significantly cuts the time they spend on active duty and on army bases.
Zionist Orthodox Israeli women are allowed to opt to serve a reduced amount of time in the civilian national service, serving primarily as hospital aides, teachers’ aides and in social service programs.
Until now, however, haredi women have been completely exempt from all types of military or civilian national service and haredi men were given blanket exemptions from both as long as they were full time yeshiva students.
Two years ago, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled that this arrangement is illegal and discriminatory, and struck down the law granting haredi men blanket exemptions.
The Knesset struggled to write a new military draft law to replace the law the High Court struck down.
But Likud Party politicians, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, scuttled some of those attempts and then neutered much of the law that was finally passed.
Both Netanyahu and Ya’alon openly told haredi political leaders and rabbis that, despite the law that was passed, no haredi yeshiva student would ever be forced to serve in the IDF against his will.
Netanyahu’s and Ya’alon’s right wing Likud Party desperately needs the support of haredi parties if Likud is to retain power after the next election, and many observers believe the haredi political parties are Likud’s only natural Knesset allies.