The rebbe told his male followers they must only report to induction centers in one large group, supposedly to prevent issues of immodesty and temptation that could otherwise exist if a teenage yeshiva student went to the IDF center by himself.
Vizhnitzer Rebbe Changes His Mind, Tells Yeshiva Students To Answer IDF Draft Notices
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Vizhnitzer Rebbe has done an almost complete about face.
The rebbe – who once ordered his hasidim to go to jail if necessary rather than report to IDF induction centers when summoned – has now told his followers to report to those IDF induction centers if they receive (or have previously received) a summons letter, Yeshiva World reported.
But the rebbe told his male followers they must only report to induction centers in one large group, supposedly to prevent issues of immodesty and temptation that could otherwise exist if a teenage yeshiva student went by himself.
The reportedly rebbe changed his sect’s policy after his demands regarding reporting to the IDF were largely met after (Deputy) Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman of the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party, Rabbi Mordechai Stern, the secretary of the party’s Council of Torah Sages, and the head of the Va’ad of Yeshivas [Council of Ashkenazi haredi yeshivas], Rabbi Chaim Aharon Kaufman interceded for him.
In a letter sent to hasidim, the rebbe ordered the following:
• Yeshiva students born before January 16, 1999 who have not received a draft notice and those in that cohort who received a draft notice but did not report to an IDF induction center should do so now as specified above, in one large group at the same time.
• Anyone born between March 20, 1992 and October 1, 1997 who is listed as AWOL by the IDF must immediately as Rabbi Ze’ev Freizler for instructions.
• The letter contains instructions for older draft dodgers, as well.
Haredim who answer draft notices by properly reporting to an IDF induction center get a blanket exemption from IDF service given to them illegally by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party. (Likud and Netanyahu need the support of haredi political parties in order to stay in power.)
Some haredi rabbis, including the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, ordered their followers not to report to IDF induction centers to get those draft exemptions because they object to the very idea that haredi yeshiva students might be required to serve in the IDF.
But after haredim returned to power less than three months ago, of the so-called non-extremist haredi groups, only Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach’s small non-hasidic rebel faction – which has no direct connection to the haredi political parties in Knesset – still refuses to allow its followers to answer IDF draft notices.