Rivlin, haredi moderates, Camp Sucker leaders meet (JERUSALEM POST) By JEREMY SHARON 07/19/12)
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Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin met near the Knesset on Wednesday with
representatives of the moderate haredi Tov political movement and of
the campaign to enlist haredim into national service.
“Politics has failed,” Rivlin said in reference to the failure of
Kadima and the Likud to reach an agreement on new legislation for
drafting the ultra-Orthodox into military or civilian service.
“So we are here today to bring everyone together under one tent
instead of sitting in separate camps,” Rivlin continued, speaking at
the round table conference held in the Tov tent in the Wohl Rose
“Not everyone can be a leading Torah scholar of the generation,”
argued Rivlin in reference to the demand for a ceiling to be placed
on the number of yeshiva students who are able to receive exemptions
from national service through full-time study.
“But coercion is not desirable either,” the Knesset chairman
emphasized. “All sides need to understand that there must be
compromise, and for this we need to sit down together.”
Hanoch Verdiger, chairman of Tov, briefly outlined his movement’s
proposals for drafting haredim into national service, according to
which yeshiva students would be able to defer service until age 23,
but would only be able to enter the workforce following the
completion of national service.
If a yeshiva student decides not to serve, then he could return to
yeshiva but would only be able to join the workforce after he
performed national service.
“It’s not possible to change the perspective of a deeply embedded
culture through a ruling of the High Court of Justice or a coercive
law passed through the Knesset,” Vrediger said. “However, we also
understand the frustration of the secular community with those who
Ariel Deri, director of the Tov movement, said the proposals
presented up until now by the various political factions would only
worsen the lack of haredim in national service, because the coercive
elements of such legislation would alienate the ultra-Orthodox
“We wanted to make a new voice heard within Israeli society from the
sector of the haredi community that has served in the army and has
integrated itself into public life,” Deri said.
Yoav Kish, one of the leaders of the IDF draft reform movement – Camp
Sucker – who was in attendance, welcomed the proposals of the Tov
“We are not against haredim, they are our brothers and we need them
with us,” Kish said. “We value Torah and Torah study, but these
values do not contradict the idea of national service and we need the
haredi community to put its shoulder under the stretcher,” a
reference to arduous stretcher marches during IDF training.
Kish added that it is not always possible to progress with the full
agreement of all parties, and called on the prime minister to
continue with efforts “to change the reality so that in another 20
years everyone will be sitting under the same tent together.”
Although the meeting was generally good-natured, members of the
reform campaign nevertheless reiterated their stance that the
principle of service for all must be applied.
Shahar Ilan of Hiddush – Freedom of Religion for Israel said
that “Israeli society is not willing to put up with a sector of
society that doesn’t serve and doesn’t work.”
He pointed out that the leaders of the haredi community, in
particular the rabbinical leadership, have opposed any reform to the
status of yeshiva students.
Ilan said the Tov organization was an exception within the ultra-
Deri said, however, that the movement is far more representative than
is immediately apparent since, he claimed, there are many people
within the community who agree with its stance but do not like to
express such sentiment publicly.
Boaz Nul, another draftreform leader, said that despite the good
intentions of the Tov representatives, a noncoercive approach had
been attempted with the Tal Law that he claimed had failed.
Deri strongly rejected Nul’s assertion, pointing to haredi enlistment
figures for the IDF and civilian service in 2007, when implementation
of the Tal Law began, of just over 300 individuals, as opposed to the
almost 2,400 haredim who served in military and civilian service in
2011. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 07/19/12)
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