Israeli Government Threatens to Draft Yeshiva Bochurim to Army

In recent days, government officials voiced their demand to draft yeshiva bochurim to the army. On many occasions, the Rebbe explained the flaw in their arguments and why bochurim must continue learning full-time.

By reporter

In a press conference last week, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made a historic call for the forced conscription of bochurim into the IDF, declaring that “there is a real, national necessity to extend the service of soldiers and reservists.”

“When the burden on servants continues to increase, I say one thing clearly: This war proved that everyone must [be enlisted],” Gallant said.

War cabinet Minister Benny Gantz echoed Gallant’s statement, writing that “all parts of Israeli society should take part in the right to serve. This is a national necessity.”

The move comes after the High Court of Justice issued conditional orders earlier in the week, threatening to upend the government’s policies on drafting yeshiva bochurim to the IDF. The Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG), one of the main petitioners, hailed the conditional orders as a “dramatic and important step” towards full equality in conscription.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi also expressed support for the conscription of all members of Israeli society, stating that “in these challenging times, one thing is very clear – everyone should do their part to protect our home.”

Following their statements, Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu said that he will seek “a consensual arrangement under which more charedim will carry out military service,” as he faces the most crushing pressure of his political career to end military exemptions for yeshiva bochurim.

Noting the contribution of charedim, who learn Torah and volunteer in emergency rescue services at far higher rates than the rest of the country, Netanyahu also acknowledged the public’s concern over the perceived imbalance in the national service burden. “One cannot ignore what the public widely sees as the discrepancy in the division of the burden,” he remarked.

As is well known, the Rebbe spoke staunchly about the critical role of yeshiva bochurim in protecting the nation. The Rebbe went so far as to say that a yeshiva bochur may not leave learning to serve in the army, and doing so compromises the security of the land (Simchas Torah 5737). Since Hashem is the only One who can protect us, the priority must be to earn His protection through Torah and mitzvos. Therefore, although those fighting have the advantage of mesiras nefesh, those who study Torah make a greater contribution to the land’s security (Yud Tes Kislev 5743).

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