Prior to the Israeli Declaration of Independence, while we found ourselves defending ourselves against the Arabs and British, the "underground" forces, Haganah, Palmach, Etzel and Lechi had a complete cross-section of volunteers of all types of Jews in the Land of Israel. That included secular, traditional, religious and hareidi.
In the early days of the State of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made an agreement with the hareidim that they could get a deferment for full-time yeshiva students and religious women. The yeshiva students were expected to support the state by their prayers and learning. Of course, many of us believe that Ben-Gurion was "generous" in granting a deferment, because he wanted to isolate the then small number of hareidim from the rest of the population. He didn't want religious interference or influence in the IDF.
While there has been great improvement and changes in the IDF for strictly religious soldiers, certain hareidi factions have become dangerously and violently more intolerant of the army and soldiers. Jerusalem has been plagued by frequent violent anti-draft riots. Last week, I found myself waiting for buses that couldn't come to the stop, because they had been rerouted. There was no notification. Public transportation and many main thoroughfares were closed or rerouted when possible.
Ordinary citizens, young and old, religious and secular have suffered physically due to travel difficulties. This is all because young, fit hareidi men are wasting their energy rioting, rather than serving the Jewish People, rather than doing mitzvot, Torah Commandments.
They claim that their time in the Batei Midrash, Study halls are too precious to waste in the IDF, but they have lots of time to riot, attack the police and endanger the health and welfare of innocent Jews. There is absolutely nothing to support their behavior in the Torah.
|Senior citizens touring the Underground Museum, Russian Compound, where Jewish fighters were held prisoners by the British Mandate before the establishment of the State of Israel.|