Jerusalem – Tens Of Thousands Of Israelis Protest Military Draft Exemptions For Ultra-Orthodox

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    25,000 people hold mass rally in Tel Aviv urging government to enact universal draft legislation. 'Equal draft – social justice. July 07,2012. The protesters are calling: "One people, one draft" and "Barak, you promised – now live up to it." Some activists are waving Israeli flags and holding signs reading "No army – no allowance" and "equal draft – social justice." Photo by Tali Mayer/flash90 Jerusalem – Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in central Tel Aviv Saturday night to voice their demand for mandatory conscription in the army or national service, in the largest protest yet of the summer, and the biggest show of force since the “Camp Suckers” movement began six months ago.

    The protest began with a march from “Camp Suckers” faux military base at Arlozorov train station to the Tel Aviv Museum Plaza, where a small crowd of around 2,000 made their way to the protest, chanting “One people, one draft” and “Bibi, you promised, now do it!”, among other slogans tying the issue of universal service into the cause of social justice.

    “Something is rotten in Israeli politics”, said former Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin from the stage on Saturday evening, adding that the day is coming when the majority of Israelis will not serve their country.

    Diskin, who has been a heavy critic of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak as of late, added that he doesn’t feel like a sucker for having service, calling it a privilege. He also said that he and others are tired of their money going to support people who don’t serve, a statement that was greeted by uproarious applause.

    The demonstrators didn’t appear to be from the usual Tel Aviv protest group, and were made up largely of suburban families, couples, and students from around the Tel Aviv area. There were very few national religious protesters, probably due to the fact that it was held on Saturday night, shortly after the end of the Sabbath.

    Rehovot resident Tamir Shafir, 39, carried his 8-year-old son Ido atop his shoulders during the march, and said that he came after nearly two decades serving in an elite IDF unit. Shafir said that “if things don’t change by the time he [Ido] turns 18, I won’t want him to serve in the army.”
    25,000 people hold mass rally in Tel Aviv urging government to enact universal draft legislation. 'Equal draft – social justice. July 07,2012. The protesters are calling: "One people, one draft" and "Barak, you promised – now live up to it." Some activists are waving Israeli flags and holding signs reading "No army – no allowance" and "equal draft – social justice." Photo by Tali Mayer/flash90
    The protest came less than a week after Netanyahu decided on Monday to dissolve the Keshev Committee, which was tasked with finding ways to draft the ultra-Orthodox and Israeli Arabs into the army or national service.

    Front and center at the crowd stood Israel Cohen, an 80-year-old double amputee, leaning his two metal prosthetic arms over the barricade. Cohen said he lost his arms in an explosion towards the end of the Six Day War, when his infantry unit was clearing a house in a hostile village outside Nablus.

    Cohen said he came to the protest from Ramat Gan to show his support for universal mandatory service, “something that should have been done years ago, and something that Bibi can do today with the 94-seat coalition he has.”

    Cohen said he believes the public debate is an opportunity for change to happen, adding “I’m very happy this is finally turning around; the army is for all of the people and all of the people must be for the army.”
    25,000 people hold mass rally in Tel Aviv urging government to enact universal draft legislation. 'Equal draft – social justice. July 07,2012. The protesters are calling: "One people, one draft" and "Barak, you promised – now live up to it." Some activists are waving Israeli flags and holding signs reading "No army – no allowance" and "equal draft – social justice." Photo by Tali Mayer/flash90
    The march drew in over a dozen organizations both left and right wing, as well as the National Union of Israeli Students and several groups devoted to religious freedom and helping reservists and discharged soldiers. The protest was billed as a non-political, non-partisan demonstration, though there was a very high number of posters and signs for Yair Lapid’s newly-formed “Yesh Atid” party, and activists from the party were out in force handing out t-shirts for the nascent political party.

    Former IDF chiefs Gabi Ashkenazi and Dan Halutz attended the protest, as well as former deputy IDF chief Moshe Kaplinsky and former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin.

    Towards the end of the rally, Anette Haskiyah, an Israeli-Arab mother from Kfar Vradim, spoke of the need for universal service also in the Arab sector, and used the example of her children who have served in the IDF, including a son who is now joining the Golani Infantry Brigade.

    “I call on Israeli Arabs – leave your ghetto, go out into the streets and stop being silent, bitter, and discriminated against. You have an opportunity to protest against racism and discrimination, don’t listen to Arab MKs, they are leading you into an abyss.”

    Haskiyeh, a Muslim, also made remarks in Arabic and talked about what the army has done for her four children, all of whom she said served and met amazing people during their time in the army.

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    22 COMMENTS

    1. Was 100% not more then 1000 people, anyway its a waste of protesting if you want isreal sould be called a jewish state the jewish buchrim needs to sit & learn, let this gouim or seculers who are upset & protest to move to india & let the yidden live there life they want

      • ” let this gouim or seculers who are upset & protest to move to india & let the yidden live there life they want ”

        Why on earth has alterg suddenly got this משוגעס about sending ” gouim or seculers” to India? That is the second time in a week that he has written this.

        Once again, an American-based crackpot thinks he can tell the population of an independent country, thousands away from where *he* lives, how to run *our* country.

        For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, “our country” means the place where men and women have lost their lives, and many more have been very seriously injured, protecting and shielding the very ” jewish buchrim” that alterg values so highly.

        Neither Israel, nor alterg’s “isreal”, needs a growing number of parasites, draining the very life blood of the host that protects them and provides them with אמצעי מחיה.

        It may not happen tomorrow, next week, next month or next year, but one day I genuinely fear there will be a civil war over charedi arrogance in wriggling their way out of sharing the national burden in the country they have chosen to live in.

        It is no wonder at all that Israeli charedim are called “leeches” by the chilonim.

        • I was in Italy after my liberation and the Palestine brigade consisting of Jewish volunteers were attached to Montgomery’s Army. The ChaplaIn was Rav Goren A’H who had completed paratrooper training My father A’H who was killed in the Lodz Ghetto served in WWI. Al achas kama should a Jew not serve in the Israeli Army. Yes the Chesdei Yeshiva alumni served in the IDF. Rabbi Goren nearly got killed when his jeep overturned on a bombed road in Southern Italy while he searching for children who were hidden by Italian families during the war.

          • “The ChaplaIn was Rav Goren A’H who had completed paratrooper training”

            Rav Goren may well have been the rav of the Jewish Brigade, but he did not do any parachute training until 1957, when he was in the IDF.

            At least Rav Goren had no qualms about combining Torah study with being in his country’s army – unlike others we could mention here and now.

          • — “Al achas kama should a Jew not serve in the Israeli Army. Yes the Chesdei Yeshiva alumni served in the IDF.”

            What you opined in one sentence you promptly negated in the very next one. What was the point of that?!!

            — “Rabbi Goren nearly got killed when his jeep overturned on a bombed road in Southern Italy while he searching for children who were hidden by Italian families during the war.”

            Well, bchasdei HaShem Rabbi Goren did not get killed. He then went on to do wonderful service, both to his G-d and to his people, by serving in the Israel Defense Force – and by encouraging religious men to do likewise.

            If Rabbi Goren was still alive today this whole shanda of charedim wriggling like worms to evade national service would never have happened.

            • I did not negate it. I rather pointed out that Chesdei Yeshiva serve as a contrast to the holy places of learning which reject the the State and the IDF. I have a picture taken of a soldier during the 1967 war has wears tallis and tefillin standing before a Sherman tank

      • Looks like your an expert dreamer! Keep on dreaming but just by viewing the pictures of those protesters faces (besides much more reasons) proofs enough how dangerous that tzahal is animals in a zoo look more humans then they

    2. I think the tide has turned and the public outrage is beginning to find a voice. The Chareidi political leadership has failed to offer any coherent rationale as to why their bochurim cannot take a year off from their studies to either serve in the IDF or otherwise do some form of public service in hosptials etc. When pressed, the Chareidi MKs mindlessly mumble that their rabbonim have said the kollel yungerleit cannot serve and therefor “who are we to question their reasoning”.

    3. If those who “sit and learn” were really sitting and learning, they wouldn’t be subject to this pressure. But because many just use this excuse of “learning” to enjoy the easy life and avoid responsibility, Hashem is letting the pressure be felt. Having a beard and payos should not exempt a person from sharing the burden of responsibility for the nation.

    4. for all those who believe that Chareidi men are exempt from their responsibility to Klal Yisrael, the events in Israel should be a wake up call.

      If you think that things won’t change in th US as well, you are in for a rude awakening. As a neighbor to Lakewood, the Ocean County community is getting very fed up with all the growth of Section 8, Medicaid, food stamps, tax money going to private schools, etc, from a community of able body men who choose not to work and not contribute to the tax rolls, while their hands are always taking. There is limit to what you can expect others to do for you!!!!

    5. Klal Yisroel, going back to the heyliga shvotim, has ALWAYS had a certain percentage of the Klal learning. We have to have people learning so if these frei yidin want to suddenly pick up the slack of those would now have to serve, that would be fine.

      Alas they would probably be like the rest of the nations in that famous succos medresh.

    6. Those who reap the benefits of citizenship must shoulder the duties of citizenship.
      If Arabs and Charedim live in Israel they can work and put their lives on the line like everyone else.

    7. In three weeks, tens of thousands of chareidi learners will leave the bes medrash and travel around the country. They need a break from saving the world, or so they claim. They will use the parks and beaches, the forests and the rivers. All of these natural wonders are maintained with my tax money. They are free loaders. Parasites.

    8. Does anyone on this site have any idea that could bring “Hareidim” under the Israeli umbrella? We need out of the box solutions. Digging in our heels on either side with have disastrous effects. Think about us being in the three weeks. Does anyone remember what our ancient problem was?

    9. There’s a reason why they don’t show overhead shots of the protests: I doubt theres more than a couple thousand people that thought it worthy to show up last night. Contrast that with a 5:30 in the morning protest in Kikar Shabbos with tens of thousands of people visible.

    10. Start taking away all the financial incentives these “scholars” get when in yeshiva and when they realize this, hopefully they’ll get off their rears and either start earning a living and or join the IDF or hopefully both.

    11. Oh, yeah, that’s just what you want in an army……yeshiva bucherim!

      I can just see it now:

      “uhhh, I’m msupik if I can shoot this guy, maybe he’s really a yid? There’s a chazakah on anyone in the land that he’s m’yisroel, and vi balt he’s coming into the land, it’s a rayah that he’s m’yisroel! I don’t have a reyasa to say that he’s a goy, don’t you see that he’s carrying a Chumash? Oh, he’s burning it?? It must be published by the tzionim! It’s a mitzvah to burn it!
      Let me get a psak from my rebbe, and instead of shooting him, I’ll just burn those chumashim with him!”

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