Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Chareidi Gush Katif

There’s no question that Chareidi (ultra-Orthodox) society in Israel has a serious problem, and that Israeli society as a whole will have a serious problem because of the Chareidim.

But, the problem is not that most Chareidim don’t serve in the IDF. The problem is their minimal participation in the workforce, and the unsustainable growing financial burden that this is placing on both the Chareidi family and on the rest of the country.

Baruch Hashem, Chareidim have large Jewish families, but they are also the poorest sector in Israeli society (along with the Arabs).

The reason they are poor is both legal and societal. Most don’t want/can’t join the IDF (for a number of reasons, some valid, some not - and that isn't the point of the discussion here).

But because they don’t serve, they also can’t work, as Israeli law doesn’t permit them to. So they are instead trapped in a situation they can't get out of.

Unfortunately, many of those screaming the loudest for forced Chareidi inclusion in the army are not doing so in order that the Chareidim can join the workforce. They aren’t doing it for “equality” or "societal justice" (otherwise they’d be just as vocal and immediate about the Arabs and the Leftwing pacifists that don’t serve). And they aren't doing it because it's about what's good for Israeli society.

Instead, they are doing it because they see this as way to attack Chareidi society in a way they hope will break down Chareidi walls and religion. And worse, some see this as a form of revenge on a group they hate. (Sound familiar?).

Meanwhile, in their own self-serving way, the Chareidi newspapers are reporting more and more stories about Chareidim who served (and are serving) who are being insulted and attacked on buses and public places for "not doing service". They are reporting more stories about secular Israelis telling them how IDF integration will be their revenge.

Undoubtedly, the stories, while probably marginal, are true, but they just succeed in making the Chareidim entrench themselves even deeper against the assault.

It’s witch-hunt season again, but instead of Settlers, it’s Chareidim.

In one form, or another, the government is going to probably pass a law that will ultimately force Chareidim into the army, but like in Gush Katif, is the government addressing the real problem? Is the government prepared for the day after? Is the army prepared to handle so many Chareidim and their special requirements?

The answer is no, just like the government wasn’t prepared to handle the 10,000 homeless Settlers it stupidly created overnight.

And Israeli society certainly isn’t prepared for the time when the Chariedim will start to follow the path of the Settlers who now make up more than half the combat officers. They’ll start to complain about that too, how the Chareidim have stolen their army away from them.

There is no easy solution here, but the first step must be an honest explanation of the goals.

Social engineering is not a good short term goal. 'Equality' is not a good short term goal (especially when it isn't being equally applied).

If the government wants to solve the real problem, perhaps the first thing it should do is tackle getting the Chareidim into the workforce immediately – without the army, while offering benefits to those who join, while only a few years from now start requiring a universal draft (or getting rid of the draft entirely and creating a professional army).

Not fair to those of us who have served or are serving?

Lots of things in life aren’t fair, but anyone who thinks you can suddenly force an entire society to turn on a dime is fooling themselves and looking for disaster. Once the Chareidim begin working, it will eventually follow that they will want to join the army too when they see the tax benefits they would be otherwise getting (for instance).

But the way things look to me right now - it just reminds me of the Gush Katif Expulsion– and many of the motivations and decisions that were behind that fiasco.

Ultimately not only were the targeted Settlers badly hurt, but a significant portion of the rest of the country has had to pay the price for that short-sighted (and underhanded) thinking.

The same here.

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21 comments:

Eligalit said...

Good evaluation. Here are a few points that I would add.
1. The Chareidim are not going to the army.They will go to jail or leave the country, but they would never go to the army.
2. I believe that the true reason for this campaign is out of a fear that the country is becoming a religious majority, which will leads to a religious state and the way to stop that from happening is by forced assimilation like the early Zionists did to the Sefardic Jews.
3. I would instead suggest that the Israeli government wind down from financially supporting Chareidi institutions and individuals who don't serve in the IDF. This way the Chareidim will be forced to be more self-reliant. (Also, the Chareidim should not be taxed for things that is not relevant to them).

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the newspapers are saying, but the official government messages are saying Charedim and Arabs both need to increase Army service.

Even if they change the laws to allow people who don't go to the army to get work, those people will not get as good as a job, because those who do join the army will be picked first for the well paid jobs.

Anonymous said...

I'm not aware of the israeli law on this subject; did I understand correctly that an israeli citizen who didnt' serve in the IDF is *forbidden* from getting a job?? This is absolutely disgusting!! I tend to agree with the analysis here, that the pressure against the religious is a mere "revenge". I'm no Charedi, however find myself in the beginning of the path towards teshuvah - after being raised totally unaware of my wonderful Torah inheritance. And I'm sure that the Jewish people still exists solely because of the poor Charedi guys who stubbornly kept the mitzvot against all worldly forces throughout the ages. Should we depend on our "illuminated" non-religious brothers, the Jewish people would now be just a page or two in the old history books.
And, not to forget, this whole rubbish of "equality" is not a Torah concept; each one of us is different, with specific strengths and weaknesses, and we are given our gifts as a tool for our personal soul rectification while interacting with the material world. We're not supposed to be talented soldiers *and* traders *and* scientists *and* Torah scholars *and* farmers *and* etc. at the same time. There should be a safe place in Israel for each individual. The current israeli government is trying to destroy individual freedoms exactly as determined by the globalist supra-national organizations which actually rule the planet today. So sad, to see the dissent and hate boil in the Holy Land.
BTW, not to forget that every form of government is evil and unjust - except for the kingdom of Mashiach, may he arrive soon in our days.
RH-Brazil

JoeSettler said...

In order to get a job, one needs a valid release from the army - either of completion of service, or release from service.

The Arabs, who generally don't get drafted, don't need one. But all Jews do.

This is the technical problem keeping Chareidim out of the workforce, and most don't get releases, just deferrals while they are in Yeshiva.

Neshama said...

Maybe financial pressure on the Yeshivos would have an impact. The Yeshiva heads would then need to weed out those who are not serious or semi-serious, from the others. The govt. should not force them into the army, because they will not be able to discern the serious from the others. The Yeshivos need a particular set of rules.

Most of the 'learners' come to Eretz Yisrael to learn because of the special quality of life here that is conducive to "achieving in learning". I happen to believe this is really beneficial to the State and People of Israel. This group needs one particular set of rules.

However, those who are born here and intend to remain here, should show some HaKoras HaTov for being able to do so. Without the government and all that it gives to the Yeshiva system, they need to express their gratitude to HaShem for being able to do so. This group needs a different set of rules.

I believe that those who have attacked the police, called them Nazis, and have gone overboard about tznius and Shabbos desecration are actually showing HaShem that they don't appreciate and have gratitude to HIM for having the privilege of being here. They too are subject to all the halachos. And this group needs rehabilitation quickly, and maybe instead of jail, it's into the Army immediately.

There is a crisis, but a 'one-answer' to all the problems won't work. There needs to be a several approaches to the several problems plaguing the Chareidi lifestyle. They are not one homogeneous clump; there are differing perspectives among them.

It seems this Galus has done much damage to many areas of our lives. We are all suffering in one way or another. In my opinion this means HaShem needs to apply an historical solution. (b'Rachamim)

Jesterhead45 said...

Can anyone confirm a comment I've read that the legal working age, set no less by the secular establishment for the Charedim in Israel is in fact 30?

Anonymous said...

Put Shalom Eliashiv, Auebarch, shteimann, Kanievski, Ovadia Youssef, Litzman and Eida Hacharedi in the jail. They no have zechut to live in Israel.
Charedim have a life based in cristian medieval tales.
They made ignorant jews in europe, a sitting ducks to cristians murderes.
Charedim were anti zionism until independecy of Israel.
When col iehudim have been draft in tsavah, Mashiach will arrive.
Am Israel Chai!!

DB said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST! It really helps showing something like this comes from someone who is far from a chareidi apologist! Thank you for this brave post and for standing up for whats intellectually honest and simply right!

WebAds Israel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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In my opinion, Chareidim belong in the army. It will be healthy for them on a societal and individual level. It would be healthy for the Israelis too. But Israelis need to understand that compromise is a 2 way street.

If Charedim join the army, it's going to come at the price of the cost of Glatt Kosher food, and no girls on many bases.

Are they willing to pay that price too?

Nachum said...

"And I'm sure that the Jewish people still exists solely because of the poor Charedi guys who stubbornly kept the mitzvot against all worldly forces throughout the ages."

I'm sorry to say you've been sold a bill of goods. Charedim didn't even exist until the 20th Century, or even the mid-20th Century.

"Should we depend on our "illuminated" non-religious brothers, the Jewish people would now be just a page or two in the old history books."

You mean the ones who warned Jews to get out of Europe and built the State of Israel? Where did you learn this stuff?

robert said...

great evaluation. hope many read this and spread the thoughts you so well expressed.

josh said...

The issue of tax benefits for ex-soldiers is not really relevant since the courts forced the government to reduce them as 'unequal' (Arabs could not benefit from them).

Thanks for putting in words what I've been telling people all along and no one else was writing.

I will add that the Haredi population was already gradually warming up to the army but this decree following a year of Haredi harrassment is just forcing them up against a wall.

Given that, I'm just waiting for some brave Haredi rabbis to speak out to their people, recommending them to go in to the army and convert it.

And certainly, the army keep getting more Russian and more religious :-)

Daniel said...

I think the role issue is that the leftist want to repeat the pais cutting they did to the Yemenites

Anonymous said...

I believe all this is a bit blown up.
The aim of this controversy is not 100% to have a fair system but some of the anti Charedi croud is using this oppurtunity to break the relegious frame work of this country.

We have a lot of waste in the army bcoz we have a lot of useless guys going into the army not knowing what exactly they are doing in the army they simply do not belong their. We either need a professional army or a conscription policy where army will be able to call only the suitable ones. This does not mean at all that the ones who does not serve in the army are not talented at all ( all are just not fit to be in the army, army service is not a joke), they can serve in various ways , like national service but not like what we have at present but really using the young minds for the good of the country.

A part of the Charedim should be allowed to study TORAH ( which is very important spiritually and these people are indeed doing a service to us) but the whole community should not be allowed to use the system just to their advantage.
Regarding seculars and arabs they should be also asked for the same sacrifices as Charedim. As its not fair to have a different system for each group.

Holy Hyrax said...

Don't you think there is some justification for the feelings that the secular society has towards the charedim (you know....trying to break down their walls)?

Anonymous said...

The fact that the rabbis have allowed and used their students to enrich themselves, their yeshivas, and their power base, should be reason enough to make the draft apply to every citizen of the country. The fact that these same rabbis never had the vision to see that they were isolating charedim from the rest of Jewish society and there could someday be a backlash, is another sign of how retarded these same rabbis are. But when the first government of Israel needed to make a deal with other political parties, it was the charedim that had both hands stretched out for money. And lefts face it, that is what it has been all about. Money for the religious. As a person who does his best to keep the mitzvot, I am proud of the "mizrachi, kipa seruga" Jews who not only saw a need to serve, but serve proudly in the best units. This is what being Jewish is all about. It's time to see whether the charedim can step up to the plate and do as well. It would have been very nice if these same rabbis had understood the need and had voluntarily insisted 95% of their students serve in the army. But since they could only see the money, it's time to make the decision for them. Charedim are not real Jews in my eyes. Even those living in Israel still feel they are in the galut, they do not serve their country as commanded in the Torah, they do not contribute to the workforce, and they insist and dressing like goyim from another galut period. Their costumes are a joke in general, and a bigger joke for people living in a hot climate.

Shira Salamone said...

Some have suggested that, as a compromise, Chareidim be permitted to do National Service/Sherut L'Umi (correct term and transliteration?), preferably near their homes and families. Maybe that would be preferential treatment, but it would also help avoid the difficulty of supplying super-glatt-kosher-mehadrin food, and might help prevent the presence in the IDF of zealous gender separatists from interfering with the ability of women to serve in the IDF.

Jesse Levy said...

You can purchase all sorts of of Judaica products at www.ahuva.com

This website is full of products that would make excellent bar mitzvah gifts or bat mitzvah gifts
they also have an excellent variety of anything from beautiful shofars and mezuzahs to lovely challah boards and also all kinds of things needed for a proper jewish wedding.
They even offer kosher meals!! this is my personal favorite website to shop at.
-Ben

Tired of SL said...

Wow - no answer to any of the sensible comments, and you even write your own "support" comments to yourself? Get a real job, "Joe"!

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