“Of course we will stage protests [against the new haredi draft amendment]. We are planning right now and we will ignite the streets and do everything so that this amendment does not pass its second and third readings in Knesset.”
Haredi Rebel Faction Threatens To “Ignite” The Streets Of Israel In Opposition To Haredi Draft
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The spiritual leader of the Ashkenazi haredi non-hasidic rebel faction, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, lashed out at the new amendment to Israel’s IDF draft law that postpones any widespread drafting of haredi yeshiva students until at least 2020 and which gives the Minister of Defense the legal power to issue blanket exemptions to haredi yeshiva students after that.
But the 84-year-old Auerbach isn’t protesting the amendment because it postpones the draft; he’s protesting it because it – at least on paper – affirms that a legally mandated draft of haredi yeshiva students exists.
“There is now murmurings from our mistaken brothers” – i.e., the mainstream Ashkenazi haredi Degel HaTorah faction, which makes up half of the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party Auerbach walked away from two years ago – “who want to fulfill the awful [draft] decree, to restrict and limit the fulfillment of the Torah, God forbid, through targets [quotas for the minimum number of haredim to enlist in the IDF or civilian national service each year] and similar things and with various blandishments to entice haredi people away from God and his Torah,” Auerbach wrote in his faction’s daily mouthpiece HaPeles, the Jerusalem Post reported.
HaPeles’s editor, Yishayahu Wein, told the Post it was unthinkable to give the Defense Minister the power to decide who may and who may not study full time in yeshiva without being drafted. Only the yeshiva rabbis and the students should be able to make that decision, Wein insisted.
“Nothing has changed in this law, there are still demands for targets, there are still demands that haredi community can’t meet, and what they are saying is that instead of burning down our house tomorrow, we’ll burn it down in three years. The MKs of [the mainstream Ashkenazi haredi] UTJ [party] protested fiercely in 2014 against the law, and tore their clothes in mourning, but now they are voting for it? [Yair Lapid, the chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid Party and the main political force behind the original law that drafted haredim] could be the defense minister in 2020 and he’ll decide which yeshiva students to draft into the army. Is this acceptable?” Wein told the Post.
“Of course we will stage protests [against the new draft amendment],” Wein continued. “We are planning right now and we will ignite the streets and do everything so that this amendment does not pass its second and third readings in Knesset.”
Auerbach’s rebel faction, sometimes with the help of the vehemently anti-Zionist Edah Haredit haredi umbrella group, have previously staged protests around the country that turned into violent riots.
The second and third readings of the amendment are planned to take place over the next week or two. If the amendment passes both readings, it becomes law.
Meanwhile, the amendment to the draft law, which is strongly opposed by many opposition politicians (and by the vast majority of the Jewish public, if past opinion polls and surveys are used as a guide) is also opposed by university students, almost all of whom, male and female alike, did their mandatory service in the IDF before enrolling in school. Tel Aviv University students are so opposed to the favoritism shown to haredim at the expense of university students that they will go on strike for one hour on Wednesday afternoon, when they will stage a protest for draft equality.
“Students in Israel demand equality in the burden of military service among all citizens of the state and demand that the government does not capitulate to political extortion,” Inbar Hochberg, chairwoman of the Tel Aviv University Student Union, reportedly said.
It is almost impossible for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold power without the support of haredi political parties. Without that support, either a center-left government that excludes Netanyahu and his right of center Likud Party would be formed or Netanyahu would have to enter into a power sharing agreement with center and left-wing political parties – something Netanyahu refuses to do. Instead, he ahs given haredi politicians almost every concession they demanded, including scuttling most of the draft law, and has given haredi schools and other haredi institutions millions of dollars to buy the support of haredi political parties.
Auerbach’s Bnei Torah Party did not get enough votes in the last election to pass the required threshold, and it has no seats in the current Knesset.