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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Equalized army service for thee but not for me

What a fiasco....

Prime Minister Netanyahu has frozen the vote in the Shaked Committee on sanctions against Haredim refusing to join the army, after the Haredim in the committee said that they would vote with the secular parties to 'equalize' army service (by increasing the length of time in the army) for the hesder yeshivas. The hesder yeshivas, which combine army service with Torah study, are a sacred cow of the national religious community.
The drama unfolded during the Committee meeting when MK Eliezer Stern (HaTnua) requested a revote on whether or not the army service chapter of the Hesder program, which combines Torah learning with army service, will be lengthened. Hareidi MKs then stated that they would, indeed, vote for the service to be lengthened. 
One United Torah Judaism MK told Arutz Sheva that the move was in response to Jewish Home, who finally agreed with Yesh Atid Tuesday to allow criminal sanctions to be enacted for hareidi draft-dodgers - albeit with a few caveats. "You push us, we'll push back," the MK fired.
The Prime Minister then allegedly ordered MK Tzahi Hanegbi to leave the session and not to vote against the â€‹Hesder service extension, after realizing that Yesh Atid and Jewish Home had formed a "deal" to keep Hesder yeshiva service at the status quo. 
At this point, Netanyahu put the vote on hold until internal conflicts could be worked out within the coalition. It is unclear why Netanyahu protested the move, as an agreement signed between the Likud and Jewish Home upon the latter entering the coalition included a clause ensuring that Hesder army service would remain as it is: at 16 months.
Maybe Netanyahu is still holding out hope that the Haredim will replace Jewish Home in the coalition if the latter leaves over the 'peace process.'

Earlier on Tuesday, in a Facebook post, Jewish Home MK Uri Orbach lashed out at the Haredi parties for 'incitement' against the National Religious community. 
"I am surprised to see the gap between Jewish Home's efforts to save them [the hareidi community] from the 'draft edict,' as they call it, and the outpouring of hate they respond with in the Knesset and in their newspapers," Orbach lamented.
The MK stressed that Jewish Home "is not looking for gratitude" from the hareidi sector, per se, "but nearly our entire faction rose up to try and prevent any single hareidi man from, G-d forbid, being drafted into the terrible army," he sarcastically noted. "Our faction was willing to dilute those 'criminal' sanctions until the Messiah comes, and to take into account the hareidi community's needs as much as possible." 
Orbach lamented that the repayment that the Jewish Home, and the religious Zionist community, have received for their trouble, has been to be lumped together with the hareidi community, as the latter are being sanctioned by the State for refusing to heed the draft order. 
"We have paid the price now that the Hesder yeshivas are facing cuts, because [MK Eliezer] Stern and the secular factions are apparently despairing on the hareidi draft issue," the MK fired.
"In all our efforts to appease the hareidi community and show that we care about the Torah learning of the hareidi world (even those who don't actually sit and learn), we seem to have forgotten that the ideal is a combination of army learning and Torah study," he added. "That a man has to provide for his family and also learn Torah. Yes, nonsense like that." 
"They call us the 'Home of Gentiles', they spit dirt at us about our Rabbis, and we stay silent.,'" the MK continued, in a Facebook post. "It is difficult for us to fight with them, they are really unfortunate, and maybe one day they will even agree with us on the issue of the Land of Israel (ha!)." 
"Yes, sometimes politics demands patience and forbearance," he reflected. "But sometimes we also exaggerate the issues a little."
The Haredim still resent Jewish Home going into the coalition with Yesh Atid under an agreement to keep the Haredim out. Is anyone really surprised at this?

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At 5:32 PM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

Carl, who is the "thee" versus the "me" in your title?

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Let them talk when they have the KIA numbers (God forbid!) like Hesder. Let them talk when they have the numbers of NCOs and officers in combat units like Hesder. Let them talk when they have the numbers of graduates contributing in all areas of Israeli society, like Hesder. Let them talk when their students commit to five years of 'belonging' to Tzahal, like Hesder. Such hutzpah.


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