Exempting Ultra-Orthodox Israelis from Army Service Might Be the Best Way to Get Them to Enlist

The Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman’s insistence on increasing the number of Ḥaredim conscripted into the IDF—and ḥaredi politicians’ refusal to accept any such proposal—left Benjamin Netanyahu unable to form a governing coalition, precipitating the upcoming do-over elections. Meanwhile, the Religious Zionist parliamentarian Naftali Bennett and the leftist Ehud Barak have both endorsed a very different alternative to the current laws that allow ḥaredi men to avoid conscription by studying in yeshivas indefinitely. Amiḥai Attali writes:

[Barak and Bennett] are talking about a solution from outside the box: full exemption for ultra-Orthodox from serving in the army. No [enlistment] quotas and no criminal sanctions [for those who evade the draft], and no one forced to enlist against his will. . . . Such a solution would lead to the yeshivas being emptied of the considerable number of ultra-Orthodox boys seeking asylum there. The military police could no longer be used by rabbis as a tool to . . . force those whose souls do not desire to study the Torah to do so. As a result, the [state-subsidized] yeshiva budgets that are calculated per capita would shrink drastically. . . .

All those who leave the yeshiva would not have to leave the ultra-Orthodox world; they would be able to integrate into academia, the workforce, and even the army.

There has been a big shift in the ḥaredi community with exponential growth in the number of ultra-Orthodox men and women entering higher education. . . . Young people who grew up in households in which the only option was to study at a kollel (a religious seminary for married men) will, [absent pressure to avoid military service], suddenly have the opportunity to live an ultra-Orthodox lifestyle while making an honest living and strengthening the economy while they’re at it.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Avigdor Lieberman, Ehud Barak, IDF, Israeli politics, Naftali Bennett, Ultra-Orthodox, Yeshiva

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media