MembersOrthodox and the army

There are currently around 150,000 Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) of military age who are not being conscripted.

By Michael Selutin | | Topics: IDF, Orthodox Jews
Ultra-Orthodox unit of the Givati Brigade Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Ultra-Orthodox unit of the Givati Brigade Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

As Israel prepares for a multi-front war and it becomes clear that the current troop strength is not sufficient, the issue of military service is back on the agenda for Orthodox Jews as well.

 

From the ghetto out into the world

Until the 19th century, almost all Jews were Orthodox. As they gradually left their ghettos, they became more secular. Before the First World War, this process had led to the widespread apostasy of Jews from their religion, and the world wars exacerbated this. The rabbis tried to isolate their communities from the world with its many temptations.

When World War II ended, the major Torah centers, especially in Eastern Europe, lay in ruins. An anti-religious regime prevailed in the Soviet Union. The future for Orthodox Judaism seemed bleak. The leaders of the Haredi communities had as their main goal the reconstruction of Torah teachings in order to produce a new generation of Torah sages. For this purpose, yeshivot (Bible schools) were founded in British Mandatory Palestine, where young men study full-time.

When the War...

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