Resources: Ultra-Orthodox Serving in the Israeli Military
Since the inception of the state, the ultra-Orthodox Israelis have not participated in Israel`s obligatory military draft. Only recently has Israeli legislation made the ultra-Orthodox exemption more difficult to attain,increasing the number of haredim serving in the army
In the Tribes of Israel curriculumone of the tribes we learn about are the "Orthodox" Jewish tribes. Since the inception of the state, the ultra-Orthodox Israelis have not participated in Israel’s obligatory military draft. Only recently has Israeli legislation made the ultra-Orthodox exemption more difficult to attain,increasing the number of haredim serving in the army. The subject of haredi military service reflects other issues in Israel, among them, the separation of religion and state.
Donniel agrees that it is easy to "engage in haredi bashing" when we view the haredim as outsiders, however they are central players in Israel’s social and political environment. Although the haredim do not serve in the army, Donniel suggests they are not anti-Zionist and instead fear assimilation of their children.
The debate about the ultra-Orthodox serving in the military is a question of Jewish values on one hand, but modern-liberal values on the other. "It is therefore unfortunate," Danny says, "that the current debate revolves mainly around the compatibility of the haredi ideal of Jewish life with the idea of equality and with the needs of a modern economy, instead of around the ideal itself."
Stuart addresses the lack of separation between religion and state in Israel. The haredim, he argues, disregard national norms. "Fewer than half of haredi men have joined the workforce, and only 16 percent of draft-age haredim-a recent improvement over the past years-serve in the IDF".
Suzanne peruses the Israeli laws circumscribing the haredim serving in the Israeli military. She says: "The Tal law, by permitting yeshiva students to defer service until age 23, merely perpetuated a wholesale exemption of the haredi community from army and national service". The Tal law was repealed in 2012, making it mandatory for haredim to begin serving in the Israeli military.
"Haredim are joining Israeli society. Haredi vocational programs are proliferating. More than 3,000 haredi soldiers have now served in Israeli’s army, including a combat-ready unit". Gil sees the changes that are ensuing as the haredim become more immersed in Israeli society.
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