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  • February 22, 2013

    “Equal Burden” — A Disaster For The IDF

    Today I wrote to Naftali Bennett advising of my thoughts on “equal service”.
      You are quite right to not stress the “equal sharing”. That is not the most important principal or one that is in the interests of Israel or the Hareidi.

      But as you say we have to get them out of their cages. As you know, the army really doesn’t need them.  They are a pain in the ass for the IDF. Then there is whole problem of the arabs who refuse to be drafted. Keep in mind that the Tal law kept the Hareidi outside the IDF but there is or was no such law enabling the Arabs to avoid the Army. If Lapid is so interested in “equal service” he should start with them.
      What is really important is to get most of them out of the Kollels and into the workforce. They should be given the choice of learning a trade of other useful skills rather than to enlist.
      From a legal point of view, there may be difficulty passing laws which apply only to Arabs or only to the Hareidi..
      I am more worried about Livni as Justice Minister than I am as peace negotiator. We must get more legislation passed regarding the SC and regarding the NGO’s and so on.  We must also approve the Levy Report. We also have to neutralize the Attorney General.
      Good luck.
    I swore allegiance to the army upon its foundation, in the middle of the War of Independence. I served in Samson’s Foxes, the mother of all Israeli commando units. We were an Elite unit (at least in our own eyes). We hated evaders, especially the pencil pushers in spotless uniforms who sat at offices in the rear.

    I wrote the above preface so that my next sentence would be correctly understood: I am against equality of the burden![*] I object to the Haredi military service on practical as well as moral grounds.

    Morally: we must recognize the uniqueness of the Orthodox community. It is different from all other sectors among our people. Some might say that they are another people altogether. Like the Arab citizens. Perhaps even more so. No officer is eager to recruit the Arab citizens. The very idea of arming the Arab youths and providing them with military training gives the army the creeps. The idea of mobilizing the Haredim is no less absurd, though for other reasons.

    The Haredi community objected to Zionism since the time of Herzl, for deep reasons of faith. Also in Israel, this community lives in a self-imposed closure and isolation, as did Jews abroad for most of their history. Military service would mean that they are required to send their youths, their next generation, to spend three years in the close company of Israeli Gentiles, of boys who are regulars at the pubs of Tel Aviv and of loose young women (Fritzes, in the Haredi Yiddish parlance). From their point of view, this is far worse than being forced to consume pork. The Rabbis are quite right when they assert that after military service their youths will be lost to them, no longer fit to be members of the Haredi community. 

    The proposal to replace military service with civilian service is inherently wrong, too. If implemeted, the expenses will be enormous, ordinary workers will be harmed and the benefits will be meagre. And, most importantly, it would not be an equal burden. It just must be recognized that this is a special community, different in every respect, entitled to life without being bothered by the state. And on the other hand, also without being financed by the state.

    I am a devout atheist. I stand for total separation between religion and state. I hate religious parties, no matter what their religious affiliation is. But that does not stop me from feeling empathy for people of different beliefs. I also despise politicians who race to power by fanning the flames of hatred for the religious.

    And in practical terms: It would be disastrous to the IDF. Recruiting the Haredim would fill the ranks of the army with tens of thousands of soldiers who hate the army and all it stands for. These soldiers would invariably obey the orders of the Rabbis, and refuse to obey their commanding officers when these contradict the Rabbis’ orders. Many of them would spend their period of service period in Military Prison 6. Trying to force masses of Hardim to perform an equal (truly equal) service would lead to mass riots whose end no one could predict.

    The IDF does not need these soldiers. I know officers who look forward with great anxiety to their mobilization. If, God forbid, they are really recruited, they would completely change the character of the army. And the idea now mooted, of establishing special camps with Haredi units — with their own rabbis and yeshiva seminaries and which would be out of bounds to all women — is a true nightmare. Clearly, equal burden would further inflate the already bloated defense budget.

    There is a simple solution to the problem of equal burden: put an end to the entire outdated idea of conscription. The best armies in the world have already dispensed with it, in favor of a professional volunteer army. Nowadays, a battle is no longer a clash of two great human masses, as were the battles of Waterloo and Borodino. A modern army is a professional body, making use of sophisticated equipment, which requires professionalism and long experience. The larger and inflated an army is, the less effective it is.

    There were times when compulsory service was a Progressive ideal. There were times when left-wing people regarded it as a safeguard against autocratic rulers using the army against the people. Over here, conscription was part of the collective heritage of Socialist Zionism. Those days are long gone. Sooner or later, Israel will also have to go over to an army based on volunteering and professionalism. And the sooner the better.

    Some will be surprised about my concern for the IDF. I used to sympathize with Israel’s army, until it had become the occupation’s police. I’m sure that the occupation will eventually end and that the State of Israel would live in peace and friendship with the State of Palestine which will be established at its side. But just like the European countries which live in perfect peace with each other after centuries of warfare, also in the future Israel would need an army — a small, well-trained, efficient and professional one.


    [*] Equal Burden refers to the demand of drafting members of the Haredi (Ultra-Orthdox) community into the IDF and abolish the exemption from military service which they have enjoyed throughout Israeli history. This issue gained prominence since the January general elections, because two major political parties – Ya’ir Lapid’s Yesh Atid (There is a Future) and Naftali Bennet’s Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home) have made An Equal Burden into the number one condition for their joining Netanyahu’s new governing coalition, giving this precedence over all other issues.

     

    Gush

     

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  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 9:14 am | 12 Comments »

    12 Comments to “Equal Burden” — A Disaster For The IDF

    1. Shy Guy says:

      For those of you readers who have no idea who Uri Avnery (MHDDSAIOT), here’s just a little taste. Spit.

    2. Joe Hamilton says:

      This traitor to Israel is nothing more than a waste of oxygen and is the lowest form of human being there is .i.e. a traitor to his own people. It is obvious he suffer from a lot of psychological pathology. He doesn’t deserve live in the Jewish national homeland. His psychopathology is clearly evident in this nonsensical essay.

      I have dealt with Hasidim in the US and while I don’t want to generalize, I know for a fact, some Hasidic males prior to marrying would travel from New York City to a resort area 2 hours northwest of NYC so they could eat pork and other non-kosher food, and after their “feasts” they would hire prostitutes. I know this because I worked in a motel where some males Hasidim would stay. Several times I was asked by the owner to go to a fast food place, buy pork spare ribs and deliver it to the rooms of these young male Hasidim. This anecdote illustrates how hypocritical and phony some ultra-orthodox Jews can be. I’m sure there are some Haridim who are similarly hypocritical and take advantage of the special privileges they receive from the government of Israel. Living in Jewish national homeland requires Jewish residents to serve in the military or there obviously would be no Jews in their eternal and ancient homeland. Since the Haridim want to live in the Jewish national homeland, they should stop making others do the dangerous job of protecting the Jews of Israel and do their share. I read a news story which said one Haridim leader state if they are made to serve in the military there would be a civil war in Israel. If this news story on Ynet (I believe) is true it shows some of them have no trouble inflicting violence on other Jews, yet they hypocritically demand not being required to serve in the military. There is nothing in the Torah that prohibits Jews from protecting themselves. Bibi, by letting them get away with this type of behavior is doing what all successful politicians do, which is doing whatever it takes to remain in power. Obviously, other Jews in Israel showed in the last election they are tired of Haridim receiving special privileges. The vile traitor Avneri obviously supports any behavior that weakens Israel.

    3. Laura says:

      Then there is whole problem of the arabs who refuse to be drafted. Keep in mind that the Tal law kept the Hareidi outside the IDF but there is or was no such law enabling the Arabs to avoid the Army. If Lapid is so interested in “equal service” he should start with them.

      Do you really want the Arabs, many of whom have no loyalty to Israel, to serve in the army?

    4. Laura says:

      @ Joe Hamilton:
      This all may be true, but Avnery does make a convincing argument against drafting Haredi.

    5. Bernard Ros says:

      Avnery is such an obvious fraud it is almost laughable. I might agree with some of his points but his motivation and agenda are so obviously distasteful as to view him as a trojan horse.

      Some will be surprised about my concern for the IDF. I used to sympathize with Israel’s army, until it had become the occupation’s police.

      The prospect of the Haredi having influence over the army and the govt is frightening to those who have abused these powers for decades. the left would like to maintain its hegemony over the reins of state and army. They will rationalize any means to achieve their ends. However, this does not excuse the Haredi: no self respecting person would intentionally take from their neighbors without participating or giving. If they are against the zionist state but wish to live in the land of Israel then the west bank would appear to be their ideal home and they should rescind their Israeli citizenship and demand to be allowed to emigrate to the west bank. If they are against being in the land of Israel under any circumstances then they should leave it entirely. It is interesting to me that the needs of those who are benefiting from the inequitable status quo are the needs that are deemed to be most important. The left may shoulder a disproportionate share but they are getting the disproportional benefit of controlling the institutions of Israel; therefore they benefit. Politicians, IDF bureaucrats, Haredis,arabs, leftists, all are invested and have something to gain by the status quo.
      It may be that there are problems connected with equitable sharing such as not wanting arabs in the IDF, etc.. However, one must recognize the inequitability rather than trying to worm out of the responsibility. Recognizing it will lead to approaches which take into account those who get no special benefits or privileges, it is the beginning of the will to fairness rather than to purely selfish considerations. A debt, obligation or responsibility does not necessarily disappear because there is difficulty in fulfilling it.
      The “professional” army is a separate issue and has different raisons d’etre. Even with a professional army there is likely to be a need for a large reserve force in which the same issues arise.

    6. CuriousAmerican says:

      @ Laura:
      Do you really want the Arabs, many of whom have no loyalty to Israel, to serve in the army?

      Put both groups in civilian service. Road construction. National Park service. Garbage pick up!

      Something!

      But it you will not draft the Haredi, I do not see how you can draft the Arabs.

      And do not weasel out on it.

      Yeshiva study should not be considered national service; not unless you grant Koran study to the Arabs?

      Pulling both groups out of insular environments would be good.

      One downside – for some of you here – is that with service, absolute equal rights should follow. So no more exclusion from some Jewish towns. And building permits would have to be issued to Arabs.

    7. Bernard Ross says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      So no more exclusion from some Jewish towns. And building permits would have to be issued to Arabs.

      Yes, Israel should give to the arabs what the arabs have given to the Jews. Has Mondoweiss informed you as to separate muslim areas in saudi arabia and other muslim nations, have they checked the jews there find out how they are faring there? why should a jew care about those who have treated the jews as second class citizens. ask the Jews in Jenin or Ramallah if the muslims allow them into their cities? You are a disingenuous and ludicrous POS to come spouting that rubbish here.

    8. CuriousAmerican says:

      @ Bernard Ross:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      So no more exclusion from some Jewish towns. And building permits would have to be issued to Arabs.

      Yes, Israel should give to the arabs what the arabs have given to the Jews. Has Mondoweiss informed you as to separate muslim areas in saudi arabia and other muslim nations, have they checked the jews there find out how they are faring there? why should a jew care about those who have treated the jews as second class citizens. ask the Jews in Jenin or Ramallah if the muslims allow them into their cities? You are a disingenuous and ludicrous POS to come spouting that rubbish here.

      If Israel drafts them, even in to civil service, it has to treat them equally or stop calling itself the only democracy in the Middle East.

      Better than Saudi Arabia is not a defense; besides Saudi Arabia does not draft Jews.

    9. Bernard Ross says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      Better than Saudi Arabia is not a defense; besides Saudi Arabia does not draft Jews

      from wikipedia

      There is virtually no Jewish activity in Saudi Arabia in the beginning of the 21st century

      from CIA factbook

      .. Census data does not identify any Jews as residing within Saudi Arabian territory

      Did I mention disingenuous AND ludicrous?

    10. the phoenix says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      If Israel drafts them, even in to civil service, it has to treat them equally or stop calling itself the only democracy in the Middle East.

      american, i am really not impressed by titles.
      what israel choses to call (or not) itself is TOTALLY irrelevant.
      what IS relevant, american, is that musloids choosing to stay should be put to work as you say, build roads, clean toilets, whatever!
      those that choose not to contribute to the state that ALLOWS them to live in its midst,…i think you know bynow what they should do, american.
      repeat after me:
      THEY MUST GO!

    11. Laura says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:

      Better than Saudi Arabia is not a defense; besides Saudi Arabia does not draft Jews.

      Israel DOES NOT draft Arabs.

      Arabs in Israel already have far more rights than Arabs in Arab countries. Arabs are full citizens of Israel. You have bought into the “apartheid” lie hook, line and sinker.

    12. opensoc says:

      I understand Avnery´s argument about the unadvisability of drafting the Haredim and the arab israeli population into the army. All the more so that the modern army demands professionalism. But civil service ? Why not ? It needn´t mean enormous expenses, no reason why ordinary workers should be harmed and the benefits will be considerable, in added contribution to the money flow and in pride of country.

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