Small Anonymous Group Of Haredim Allegedly Wants To Volunteer For IDF Combat Duty
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A small group of anonymous haredi yeshiva students reportedly claims it wants to enlist as a group and serve on the front lines in Gaza, the haredi news website Kikar HaShabbat reported.
But that proposed IDF service comes with many qualifications, including serving only during yeshiva vacation periods and only in wars it deems kosher.
“J,” who represents the group, said to number several dozen people, to the media told Kikar HaShabbat that must remain anonymous.
"I'm an Orthodox Jew and a reservist in the army did but I do not want to be exposed – certainly not at this stage,” “J” said, adding that “there are existing initiatives to recruit volunteer reserve soldiers…even foreign volunteers…why shouldn’t there also be volunteering initiative for [haredi yeshiva students]?”
But “J” also noted that his group totally differentiates their volunteer effort with the new military draft law that, on paper at least, will cause haredi yeshiva students top be drafted. The law is vehemently opposed by haredi rabbinic and political leaders and is extremely unpopular on the haredi street, even during the war.
“[The haredi reaction to the new military draft law] should not stop us from volunteering [for duty], it should not disqualify the volunteer,” “J” continued.
“As [people who already are] volunteers in [the haredi medical emergency response organization] ZAKA and other rescue organizations [like Hatzolah], we do not see any reason not to enlist in the volunteer army. Conscription of [haredi] yeshiva youth is a serious problem that needs to [be decided by] the gedolim of Israel [top haredi rabbis]. They and only they should decide an issue like this,” “J” insisted.
“Adult yeshiva students are stable spiritually,” “J” continued, “but the army can wreak spiritual havoc on younger [draft age haredi yeshiva students]. And there is also a huge difference between being drafted into a long period of [mandatory military] service and volunteering in emergency situations [like this] for short periods [of time],” “J” insisted, adding that volunteers would only serve 12 days of reserve duty annually and only during yeshiva vacation periods like the one that starts next week.
“J” also said his group would volunteer for IDF service only when it deemed the IDF to be involved in a milchemet mitzvah, a holy war of defense mandated by Jewish law. He also said the group’s proposed service situation would follow halakha (Jewish law), would respect all haredi values, and would be kept separate from the rest of the IDF.
The members of his group, all of whom are married with children, did not enlist in the IDF when they were younger due to religious and theological reasons, including believing Torah study is preeminent and takes precedence over army service, “J” claimed. But now that they are older, married and stable religiously, they want to serve briefly now in order to help out.
“They did not dodge the draft before this because they are afraid to die in battle, or because they are afraid of war. Not all avrechim [married haredi yeshiva students] in the group are ready to go right now to the battlefield…but most of them are ready to go into combat zones to risk their lives and [possibly] die in battle.…Simply put, they ask themselves, why our blood redder than the blood of the soldiers on the battlefield?,” “J” claimed.
When asked if the group had any rabbinic backers, “J” replied that it did not.
It is impossible to verify the veracity of the group, and some observers of the haredi community – including some haredim themselves – believe this could be a hoax created as PR meant to lessen the intense anti-haredi antipathy felt throughout the rest of Israel as more and more IDF soldiers are wounded or die fighting in Gaza while the vast majority of haredi men refuse to serve in the IDF.
[Hat Tip: Marty Bluke.]