Another haredi draft-dodger yeshiva student, 21-year-old Yinon Avitan, was arrested by IDF police at his Jerusalem home early Monday morning. More than 600 17-year-old haredim alone could now be dodging the draft.
Above: file photo
Another Haredi Yeshiva Student Arrested For Draft-Dodging
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Another haredi draft-dodger yeshiva student, 21-year-old Yinon Avitan, was arrested by IDF police at his Jerusalem home early Monday morning, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Avitan, a student at the Reishit Hochma Yeshiva in Jerusalem, was reportedly sentenced to 15 days imprisonment by a military court and is imprisoned at IDF Prison Six near Haifa.
Avitan, a member of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach’s non-hasidic haredi rebel faction, is only one of many haredi yeshiva students arrested for draft-dodging.
Accoding to one unnamed source cited by the Jerusalem Post, there could be as many as 600 17-year-old haredi yeshiva students who have not reported to IDF Recruitment Offices even though they received draft notices.
Auerbach previously ordered his followers not to report to IDF inductiopn centers when summoned, even to tell the IDF that they want exemptions from the draft in order to continue full time Torah study.
The Slonim Rebbe ordered his yeshiva students to do the same earlier this week.
The mainstream non-hasidic haredi faction headed by Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman tells its followers to answer the first draft notice by reporting to an IDF induction center and telling the IDF only their name, address and birthdate and that they are full time haredi yeshiva students who refuse to serve in the IDF. Those haredi yeshiva students are granted exemption by the Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon of the Likud Party, even though those exemptions appear to be illegal. The High Court of Justice is currently trying get Ya’alon to honestly answer its questions regarding them.
Haredim from Auerbach’s faction and from haredi groups, mostly hasidic, affiliated with the haredi anti-Zionist umbrella organization Edah Haredit have staged repeated violent demonstrations against the draft and against the arrest of several yeshiva students for draft-dodging.
But all haredi leaders from all factions totally and completely oppose any draft of haredi yeshiva students and have ordered their followers not enlist in the IDF voluntarily. The haredi opposition to the IDF has nothing to do with pacifism – haredim are often very right wing politically and not pacifists. Instead, the opposition comes from haredi rabbinic leaders who fear that exposure to the wider world through military service – even if that service is done in special haredi units – will lead their followers to want to go to college, get jobs and have normal lives that are not wholly dependent on the largess of haredi rabbinic leaders. And that would likely cause haredi rabbis to lose some of the control they now have over their followers.
The Committee for Saving the Torah World, a haredi anti-draft organization backed by haredi rabbinic leaders, attacked recent arrests of haredi yeshiva students for draft-dodging.
The arrests “prove without doubt that the goal of the army is not ‘the Defense Forces of Israel,’ but rather [is meant] to spiritually destroy the haredi community, and it continues to dedicate considerable resources to achieve this goal,” the organization told the Jerusalem Post.
Dr. Haim Zicherman, a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute’s Religion and State Project, told the Post that the large number of haredi draft-dodgers “intentionally breaking the law in a systematic way” constitutes a civil rebellion. He urged the IDF to tamp it down by declaring an amnesty that would allow any haredi draft-dodgers who failed to report to an IDF induction center when summoned to report now without penalty and get their (likely illegal) exemption and urged the IDF to do this in a way that allows Auerbach and other haredi leaders to save face.
“They can’t leave [the] country, they’re afraid to go to their [families’] homes, they can’t get a drivers license, they’re permanent criminals at the moment,” Zicherman, reportedly said.
However, the IDF has given that dispensation to some individual haredi yeshiva student draft-dodgers, but many refused to report anyway and Auerbach and his faction leaders are showing no interest in compromise.
Most of the haredi draft-dodgers arrested in recent months were reportedly caught when they were stopped by civilian police for other alleged crimes or violations or re-entered the country when returning from abroad. Both situations often trigger an automatic search of IDF records – a search that would show the haredi yeshiva student is a draft-dodger.
But the recent arrest of Avitan appears to be different. Military Police made the initial arrest and there is no known encounter with civilian police or border police that would have sparked it. This may mark an escalation of enforcement of the law by the IDF.