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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

IDF Should Crack Down on Draft-Dodgers

(nablopomo day 27)



“there is no reason that my daughters are required to do national service and someone else’s aren’t.”
Those were the words of  Brig.-Gen. Orna Barbivai, who is only one of three women in Israel to hold such a high rank in the IDF.  She stated that because of "demographic challenges" and lower immigration, the Israel Defense Forces should start cracking down on draft-dodgers.  She was partially referring to the ultra-Orthodox who receive a religious exemption from serving in the armed forces, and have twice the birth rate of the regular population, or higher.

The ultra-Orthodox receive an exemption in order to study Torah, which is fine, for scholars--but it is now out of all proportion.  Even those who do not have an inclination nor an aptitude for studying and learning Torah get this exemption.  Initially, it was a reaction to the decimation of Judaism in Eastern Europe because of the Holocaust, when six million men, women and children were brutally murdered by the Nazis.

Jewish life, scholars, and Torah learning were wiped out in Eastern Europe, and this was an attempt to revive the generations of scholarship in the Jewish Holy books, and continue Jewish tradition.  It was important, at the time, and it achieved its purpose. Now, thank G-d, Jewish learning and scholarship have been revived in Israel and thrive there. 

The time has come to change national policy and award exemptions only to those who are illuiyim--prodigies and geniuses: to those who show an aptitude for study and who have the potential to become great rabbis and sages.

Everyone else, regardless of degree of piety, should serve, either by bearing arms in the IDF, or in Israeli National Service (sherut le'umi--see previous post).

Apparently many young people (especially girls, it seems) have lied about this 'piety' in order to get out of serving:
Barbivai praised the IDF’s efforts to counter the phenomenon of young girls claiming to be religious to get out of service. She said that since investigations into such claims were launched in late 2008, hundreds of young girls have been caught and a total of 1,200 have recanted on their claims of piety.
My own youngest child, my daughter "Rambo" was just discharged from active duty where she served for three years in a combat IDF unit, and attained the position of Commander (rank: Staff Sergeant). Yes, she decided against National Service, and opted to bear arms.  That was her choice.  But if she had chosen otherwise, she would have had to do her civilian National Service--not been exempt from everything.

Everyone who is eligible to serve, should enlist, or serve the state of Israel in some other, civilian capacity.  This draft-dodging should not be allowed any longer.



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2 comments:

David Tzohar said...

AlthoughI agree in principle that everyone should do national service
we can not ignore the fact that there are serious problems with young women doing national service.There are many Sherut Leumi jobs that exist in a totally mixed gender environment and these young women are exposed to the possibility of sexual harassment (hayu dvarim meolam)We are in a milchemet mitzvah and there may be situations where even a bride should go from the chuppah to defend our land and its people as was the case in the War of Independence. Fortunately things are different today and we dont need women in combat units,but we should be able to create conditions which make it possible for them to do national service.

Lady-Light said...

David: I assume you meant that there were problems with young women doing the army, not national service.

Most religious young women DO national service, and not the army, and as far as I'm aware, there is no problem of sexual harassment in national service situations.

There is some of that in the army, however (my daughter experienced some negative discrimination during her officer training course).

And did you mean that we are in a "milchemet mitzvah" at this time, or not? What you wrote was not 100% clear to me.
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