Haredi Jews Rally In N.Y. Against Israeli Draft Proposal
03/10/14
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NEW YORK — Tens of thousands of haredi Orthodox Jews rallied in New York against a proposed Israeli law that would draft more young haredi men into the military.

The Sunday afternoon prayer rally in the Wall Street area of Lower Manhattan drew a crowd that police estimated at between 30,000 and 35,000 people, according to The Jerusalem Post. Organizers put the number of participants at more than 50,000, the Associated Press reported.

The rally stretched for blocks, with men and women gathered in separate areas.

The prayer rally’s logistics were organized by Agudath Israel of America, the leading haredi Orthodox umbrella group. Among the prominent rally participants was Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the grand rabbi of one faction of the Satmar Hasidic sect.

Last week, an estimated 300,000 haredi Jews protested in Jerusalem against the proposed draft law, which is backed by Israel’s governing coalition.

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Last Update:

03/11/2014 - 06:22

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A few months ago I found my great grandfather's discharge papers from the Tsar's army in Russia. My great grandfather Rabbi served in the army of the Tsar because evading conscription was not an option. In doing so he fought for the Russian oligarchy which repressed him and in a minor way, his village.

Today's Haredim can opt to provide national service, which entails serving in hospitals, or education, or other forms of non-military service as an alternative. These options are aligned with "maasim tovim", "mitzvot" and Judaic values. They can also choose to serve and protect their families and the country they live in, Israel, more directly. Instead, they opt to demonstrate against doing either. This shows how Haredi Jews have become disconnected over the decades from some of the core values of Judaism as applied to daily life. One life saved in a hospital, one child helped to develop to their full potential, those could be the salvation of the country which they reside in.

The Satmars do not believe that Jews should establish a state until the Meshiach arrives. Satmars do not demonstrate against haredim collecting millions of shekels in benefits and subsidies from the government which they deem to be not merely illegal but in violation of the Torah. And, now the very same Satmars do not believe that they should serve in the Army which protects them, Medinat Israel, and the social welfare system which supports them. Unbelievable!

The Ultra-Orthodox are pacifists very opposed to war. They've opposed the War of Independence in '48 and every war since. They've been opposed to Zionism long before the State of Israel came into existence in '48 and have remained so ever since. And despite continuing to live in the country after it changed from Palestine to Israel in '48 they are vocally in support of Israel giving land to the Arabs for peace.

The Ultra-Orthodox are conscientious objectors to war in Israel much like the Amish in America - who also are exempt from the U.S. draft and when there is a draft the U.S. Selective Service exempts them from serving.

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