Sunday, June 16, 2019

Lehovin: An Insider’s Look at the Bnei Yeshiva Draft Process

Lehovin, parshas Behar 27, Main, p. 9

Menachem Shtauber is a 29-year-old Israeli criminal law attorney in Yerushalayim, where he lives with his wife and three children. After learning in Yeshiva Kol Torah, he began the study of Israeli law, and after serving as an army lawyer, went into private practice, where he specializes in representing both religious and secular individuals experiencing problems related to the military draft. He is widely regarded as the top attorney in the country in this area of the law.

Is there a real problem today of yeshiva bachurim who are in danger of being drafted by the Israeli army?

There are hundreds of such cases in which a bachur has been stripped of his ma’amad ben yeshiva, his exempt status as a yeshiva bachur. I’m not exaggerating – as an attorney, I’m careful to speak with precision. We’re not discussing the talmidim of Rav Shmuel Auerbach or others who don’t cooperate with the military authorities at all. We’re speaking of regular yeshiva boys who went through the registration process but have been denied their exemptions.

For example: A boy comes from a family that has great financial difficulties and during bein hazemanim, he works a bit in order to help his family out, even just for an hour. When that boy comes to the draft office and they ask him if he’s ever worked, if he acknowledges working for an hour bein hazemanim, they tell him, “So you work. You’re not a yeshiva bachur. You will go into the army.”

All these conditions that are used to remove a bachur’s status, such as the prohibition on working even for one hour or traveling overseas for more than seven days, were they enacted in order to ensure there would be enough yeshiva bachurim to fill the yearly quotas that require the drafting of thousands of charedim? 

I can’t say if it’s to fill quotas, but there’s no question that it has been done with a goal of drafting as many bachurim as possible. There is an office for shiluv Charedim, for the integration of charedim in the army, which was set up for this specific purpose. This isn’t something hidden, the army publicizes it. People can debate whether this is good or bad. That’s a separate question. But these are the facts, and you can’t argue with facts. It’s more comfortable, however, for people to bury their heads in the sand and say that all is in order, when in fact it isn’t.

In the past, these conditions on a bachur’s status weren’t scrutinized and enforced anywhere near as exactingly as now. If a boy wanted to fly overseas he did so and they would leave him alone. Now, if a bachur travels overseas and returns mere hours after the seven-day deadline – it’s all over. This is being done in order to increase the numbers of charedim in the army.

I have quite a number of bachurim I’m representing who had their status removed for having volunteered outside of regular yeshiva hours – such as on erev Shabbos or bein hazemanim -- with organizations like Hatzalah or Yedidim (which is like Chaverim in the U.S.). The State would rather they do nothing than that they volunteer for these groups.

Is it true that there are people paid by the army to circulate among bachurim to influence them to enlist?

Yes, of course. I know such individuals personally. I don’t know if they receive money for each bachur they convince to enlist or they receive a salary, but there certainly are such people—charedim in every way -- circulating in the olam hayeshivos. The State is interested in having charedim integrate into society and they use every means at their disposal. 

What is going on currently with the drafting of girls?

I am more involved with cases of bachurim than of girls. But I can tell you that just days ago there was a Supreme Court ruling in a case in which a young woman named Moriah Sheli sought an exemption despite having been late in submitting her tatzhir dat, declaration of religiosity.

The court rejected her petition, and in the opinion, they stated that the fact that the number of religious girls entering the army continues to rise is proof that there is no intrinsic contradiction between a girl being religious and serving in the army. This is a very ominous development, because it undermines the entire basis for religious exemptions.

Ever since a Supreme Court case about three years ago in which a non-religious girl sought an exemption claiming she was religious, the army has begun giving even unquestionably religious girls – including very Charedi ones – a very difficult time. I represent girls who are regularly summoned to the draft office for a ra’ayon dat, an interview to determine their religiosity –something that never occurred in the past. At these interviews, they are bombarded with questions that even you and I might have a difficult time answering under pressure, seated before intimidating army officers. They are questioned about obscure points of Jewish law, such as which brachot to make on various foods and the order of precedence of brachot, or are told to recite tefillot by heart, starting from the middle of a paragraph. There are many girls who lead religious lives but don’t attend Torah shiurim and aren’t familiar with halacha, yet these girls are forced into the army as a result of such interviews.

Can you describe a bit about the experience of being in the army?

I served in the army and I still do milu’im. The moment one enters the army, one’s hashkafa changes, he begins to feel himself a part of Israeli society. A charedi bachur who enters the army will not remain as he was – there’s no one who denies that. He is exposed to different types of people and different cultures, and sometimes he begins to adopt those as his own.

Some claim that there’s no draft crisis because, after all, “no one is ever taken directly from yeshiva into the army,” and they challenge those who claim there is a crisis to find such instances. What is your response?

Perhaps they’re right that bachurim aren’t generally taken physically from yeshiva straight into the army. But the way the process works, once the army removes a bachur’s exemption and he is forced to fight against being drafted, he will indeed end up in the army unless organizations like Ichud Bnei Torah HaSefardim and others can hire attorneys to secure his release.

So, while a bachur may not be dragged physically from his shtender to the army base, being stripped of his exemption means that, barring special intervention, a process has begun that will lead to his being forced into the army. I have represented a number of bachurim who were imprisoned after losing their exempt status and as a result ended up giving in and going into the army.

I have a question for those who say that bachurei yeshiva are not being caught in the draft: Why is it that Degel HaTorah itself has someone named Rav Godenthal, whose entire job is to work on freeing bachurim who have been caught up in the draft process? He is very busy, so obviously there is a major problem in this area. People in America have a very great advantage in that they’re not caught up in the politics here, so they can see the picture of what’s going on here from a detached perspective, unlike people here who are biased by the fact that whole identity is tied into the politics. I’m not politically involved and I’m not connected to one side or another. Although I may wear a black kippah, I don’t see myself as a standard charedi. We need to face the facts: There are problems and we need to deal with them. If someone wants to say, “There are problems, but we don’t have the ability to deal with them,” that’s also a possible response. But what’s not valid is to say there are no problems.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Is the end near?

Let's review recent events. The sitting Prime Minister of the so-called Jewish state, the most popular and powerful leader since Ben-Gurion, tweeted: "The State of Israel will not become a halachic state." The former Defense Minister, A. Lieberman, holder of probably the 2nd most powerful position in the country, announced similarly, "we are against a halachic state."

The PM's tweet to which his son said essentially 'amen'

Let us remember that the Jewish nation came into being at Har Sinai and endures only via the halacha:

It was not the land that Moses had been commanded to proclaim to his people at the outset of his mission as מורשה, as the inheritance they were to preserve (Ex. 6,8). The Law, to be translated into full reality upon that soil, was to be the true מורשה, the one true, everlasting inheritance, the one true center around which the nation and its leaders were to gather as one united community. Herein lay the goal and the destiny, the character and the significance of the people. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch "The Kehillah," Collected Writings, Vol. VI, p. 62)
Through the halacha, we connect to Hashem. Without it, one gets stuck in the goshmiyus which becomes a bad replacement. The land becomes a false god. Even the Jewish people can become a false god. Of course, Zionists aren't interested in the Jewish people, only Zionist people as we saw during the Holocaust and afterwards when relief efforts for Jews were often thwarted by Zionist organizations unless they were directed at Jews who would move to Palestine or later Israel. I know a man who was told by Yad V'Shem, the Israel Holocaust museum, that they were only interested in Holocaust victims and survivors that were connected to the State of Israel in some way.

Then the Prime Minister appointed the first openly homosexual cabinet minister.  

first gay.JPG

Meanwhile, last week the formerly holy city of Jerusalem held its 18th annual homosexual pride parade of 30,000 people. The city hangs up rainbow flags for them. 

jeru gay.jpg
The parade route in Jerusalem with the rainbow flags installed by the city. Rainbow flags are a global symbol of homosexuality

And Jerusalem police are hiring trans-gender officers.

And I know Dati Leumi people who propose that we alter the nusach of the tefillah "build Yerusalayim" because the city has already been rebuilt and made Jewish. They call this Jewish.

Let us recall that the very Bible that the Zionists use to declare ownership of the land prohibits homosexuality.
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. Vayikra 20:13

Today, Tel Aviv is holding it's annual gay-pride abomination parade of 250,000 people. That is 4% of the Jewish population of the country. If 4% of Americans showed up for a parade, there would be 13 million people. The gay-pride parade in San Francisco, a city which is world famous for its acceptance and promotion of homosexuality, gets only 50,000 people. Metro San Francisco is home to 4.7 million people. Metro Tel Aviv with 3.8 million people gets 5x the participation in raw numbers. 

Yesterday, Haaretz published an article stating that the State of Israel leads the Western world in late term abortions performed if there is even a small chance of even minor birth defects. HaGaon Moshe Feinstein zt'l, posek hador, ruled that abortion in general is murder and absolutely prohibited to prevent birth of a baby with birth defects. (Iggros Moshe- Choshen Mishpat- 2:69) Furthermore, he ruled that even amniocentesis is forbidden if it is performed only to evaluate for birth defects for which the parents might request an abortion. Abortion is permitted only to safe the life of the mother.

Since 1948, the State of Israel has performed well more than 1 million abortions. 

"There are three who drive away the Divine Presence from the world, making it impossible for the Holy One, blessed be He, to fix His abode in the universe and causing prayer to go unanswered... [The Third is] he who causes the fetus to be destroyed in the womb, for he destroys the artifice of the Holy One, blessed be He,, and His workmanship.... For these abominations, the Spirit of Holiness weeps." Zohar, Shemos 3b.

Here's how they do abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy at which time the fetus theoretically can live outside the womb. They kill the fetus by injection of a substance into its heart, then give birth to it. 

Talmud Yoma 9a:
Why was the first Sanctuary destroyed? Because of three [evil] things which prevailed there: idolatry, immorality, bloodshed. 
One wonders if the end is not very near. How much more of this will the Master of the Universe tolerate?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Only in Israel

"This morning, a girl entered the Lishkas HaGiyus on Rechov Rashi in Yerushalayim. She went to arrange a petur from the army. The army demanded she first pass a rayon dat, a test to prove she is religious. The officials were unsatisfied with the results and refused to grant a petur. They demanded she immediately begin the enlistment process. The girl refused to enlist and broke down sobbing. Meanwhile, her plight became known, and a large tzibbur of hundreds rushed to protest and to prevent her transfer. Baruch Hashem, after a number of hours she was released. To give an idea of how easy it is to fail a rayon dat, consider one of the famous trip-up questions; what were the names of the two houses in the times of the Mishnayos? Give up? Bais Shamai and Bais Hillel, of course. Didn’t get it, sorry, you are obviously not religious and must enter the army." From the Sentry

Only in Israel. It's amazing the heartlessness of some of the people in the draft office and all those who cheer them on. Making a young girl sob. Bullies. I'm sorry to say it but having a heart of stone is not uncommon in Israeli society. The founders of the country hardened their hearts towards Hashem and Jewish tradition. Then they developed a militaristic identity which their descendants want to impose on everyone. Along with that comes a hatred for everyone, Arabs, Europeans, liberals, 2 billion Moslems, Charedim. They are all out to get us is the claim. It becomes a hate fest. Aliyah salesman talk about the sabra, rough on the outside and soft on the inside. I believe that's a relic of a time long gone by. If ever you meet a Sabra in Israel, usually he's over 60, and his father was from Poland or Yemen. The new generation is 70 years deep into militarism. And many of them are quite scary. 

Now who came to this girl's rescue? I have seen it before. It was men in long coats, long beards, and long payus. It was men who ignoramuses sometimes actually label as anti-Semites because they protest against the state, the secular state whose democratically elected Prime Minister of many years opposes halacha. Meanwhile, the so-called anti-Semites are the ones who mobilized on behalf of this poor Jewish girl. Safe to say there wasn't anybody there with a knitted yarmulka. It was men who worship Hashem and love His people who came to her rescue. If you worship Hashem you will love His people. If you worship the state, you will love the armed enforcers of its heretical policies.