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Monday, February 24, 2014

American Religious Zionists slam Bennett for criminal sanctions in Haredi draft bill

Perhaps the problem with American Jewish leaders is that 'live and let live' attitude. They don't know how to go for blood like the Israelis do. More on this at the end.

Three prominent members of the American Religious Zionist leadership have blasted Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett and his deputy Ayelet Shaked for facilitating the Haredi draft bill being brought to the Knesset, which includes criminal sanctions.
Religious Zionists of America chairman Martin Oliner said he and other leaders of his community were disappointed that Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett had enabled the criminalization of yeshiva students.
“The fundamentals of religious Zionism are supporting Torah and avoda (“work”), and Torah comes first,” Oliner said. “A culture cannot be changed by force. It is wrong to put arbitrary quotas that are capricious on yeshiva students.
If you can put quotas on learning Torah, tomorrow they’ll do it on Hesder students, and later on people living over the Green Line.”
Oliner noted that the British had quotas for Jews moving to the land of Israel, and he said they should not be the model for the Jewish state. He said that students who are not learning should serve, recommending a test for Torah aptitude to determine who should remain in yeshiva.
Rabbinical Council of America president Rabbi Leonard Matanky said that as a Diaspora Jew who had not served in the IDF he was limited in what he could say. Nonetheless, he expressed concern regarding the decision.
“It is difficult for me to accept that anyone would be subject to criminal punishment for learning Torah,” Matanky said. “I understand the sociological and economic challenges that went into the decision, but Torah study is paramount to our existence.”

National Council of Young Israel president Farley Weiss, another American religious- Zionist leader who participated in the meeting with Bennett, said the Bayit Yehudi leader had told them that his party would not support criminal sanctions and he was surprised that the sanctions were adopted against his wishes.
"Since criminal sanctions are many years away from being implemented, the hope of NCYI is that everything will be worked out amicably and no criminal sanctions will ever be given," Weiss said. "We do not support criminal sanctions but we do support a program to incentivize an increase in haredi army service and bring more haredim into the workforce."
Weiss said the army needs to do everything it can to meet the needs of the haredi community to make them feel comfortable that their sons will remain religious when they are serving in the army.
Don't bet on it.

Sadly, I constantly see posts on Facebook from Dati Leumi (National Religious) people in Israel who say that they'd rather live with the seculars than with the Haredim. And although most Haredim don't post on Facebook, from what I have seen, the animosity between Haredim and the National Religious in Israel is largely mutual.

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At 6:08 PM, Blogger Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Let's remove the smoke screen. No one will be punished for learning Torah. There is more Torah learned (and publicly supported) in Israel than in any time in our history.

The threat of punishment is for avoiding national service. For being selfish and greedy and unwilling to be a full part of Am Yisrael.


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