Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight


Window into the Charedi World | Mordecai Plaut, director







A Stormy Deliberation in the Knesset Plenum Regarding the Conscription of Yeshiva Students

by R. Tzvieli

"The gedolei haTorah unequivocally oppose every change in the existing arrangement regarding the deferment and conscription of the yeshiva students. It is not the politicians who will decide, determine and rule on this issue -- not even the chareidi or religious ones -- but only the gedolei haTorah. They alone."

These statements were made at the Knesset plenum by MK Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Laizerson at a stormy deliberation on the ruling of the High Court over the matter of the conscription of yeshiva students.

Leftist Knesset members claimed that the chareidi public isn't satisfied with the existing situation.

The deliberation was extremely stormy, and was accompanied by side remarks and incessant shouting, especially between MK Rabbi Laizerson (UTJ) David Azouli, Nissim Dahan and Yitzchok Cohen (Shas) who protested the harsh defamation and mudslinging against the chareidi public and the lomdei haTorah.

MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) claimed that the chareidi public itself doesn't want the existing arrangement any more, and no longer wants to star in Bituach Leumi's poverty reports. He said, "The only method of preventing the disintegration of the Torah world is to make a change in the formats of the yeshivos and kollelim."

MK Chaim Oron (Meretz) claimed that in his opinion there isn't even one MK who thinks that the solution is to retain the status quo as it exits today. "Chareidi Knesset members have told me that a solution must be found, and due their right to privacy, I will not mention names. The current system can't continue to exist. The public at large cannot bear this burden any more. Your public cries out for a different solution," he called to the chareidi Knesset members, who vociferously protested these remarks.

MK Beigeh Shochat (Labor) caused a storm when he claimed that the issue involved 80 thousand yeshiva students, when in truth, the IDF statistics indicate that 30 thousand receive deferments. His words were exceptionally harsh. Among other things, he called the chareidi populace "parasites," and claimed that this community lives at the expense of the entire populace of the state.

MK Nissim Dahan (Shas) said that the ruling of the High Court is indicative of the great change which has transpired in Israeli society. "The first generation of the state still recalled beis abba. The Torah is the supreme value of the Jewish Nation, and Ben Gurion understood this. He didn't agree with this principle, and he tried to prevent the making of an arrangement on the issue of the yeshiva students. But he understood it. Today, the Knesset members have absolutely no inkling of the value of Torah study, and when someone tries to explain it to them, they look at him as if he fell from the moon. If I were to say that soccer is a supernal value, they would understand me. When I speak about Torah learning, they don't understand. Israeli society has gone bankrupt. Today there is no concept such as respect for Jewish tradition."

Deputy Minister MK Michael Eitan, who replied in the name of the government, called on those present to find a viable and appropriate arrangement for topic of the conscription of the yeshiva students, and said that deliberations should begin soon since the High Court has given the Knesset a year in which to pass a law on the issue.


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