Headline of the week

From the Jerusalem Post:

Haredim riot over arrest of pub-going, draft-dodging yeshiva student

The back story, as to how the yeshiva student was arrested, is even more amusing.

The violent demonstrations started on Thursday after a haredi yeshiva student from Elad was arrested in Eilat.

The student and three of his friends had been visiting the Crazy Elephant night club and then hailed a cab to take them to the main promenade where they wanted to find a pub.

According to the police, the group of four yeshiva students underpaid for their cab ride by NIS 5 and the cab driver, who was unhappy with their behavior, reported them to the police.

The police were able to identify and locate the youths, and upon detaining them discovered that one of them had not reported to the IDF for the preliminary drafting process.

According to the police report, none of the yeshiva students was wearing any religious items such as yarmulkes or tzitzit; they were dressed like secular young men on a night out.

In an interview with news website Haredim 10, the cab driver explained that it was the rude behavior of the four young men, which included them throwing an NIS 20 bill at him, which led him to make the complaint to the police.

Ha! It rather looks like Divine Justice to me. If the silly buggers hadn’t misbehaved, none of this would have happened. Perhaps the haredim might stop to ponder on that.

Irony in Israel

From an Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release:

On Thursday, 6 February 2014, President Shimon Peres delivered the largest online civics class in the world, setting a new a Guinness World Record.

President Peres delivered the online class using Cisco’s advanced technology from the company headquarters in Netanya to over 9,000 students in 215 classes in 71 schools across the country from Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Tel Aviv, Kuseife, Ofakim, Dimona, Hadera, Tiberias, Tayibe, Nahariya, and other communities across Israel.

In his 45-minute mass lesson, President Peres emphasized the values of equal rights, freedom of expression, and democracy. He stressed that computerizing education will help ensure broad and equal high qualitaty education for students throughout the country

The first irony is the typo, of course.

The main irony? From the Times of Israel:

The arrest of an ultra-Orthodox man who refused to enlist in the IDF sparked widespread protests throughout the country Thursday, as thousands of Haredi demonstrators demanded the young man’s immediate release from army prison and called on the government to reinstate payments to religious seminaries which were frozen earlier this week by Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox demonstrators clashed with police forces on the light-rail suspension bridge near the entrance to the city. According to police, several protesters attempted to break through the police security buffer and throw bottles and firecrackers at security personnel and passersby. Fifteen demonstrators were arrested, police said. A number of main roads in the capital were blocked as a result of the protests, causing heavy traffic throughout the city.

They arrested somebody who ignored his draft notice. It’s an open and shut case. The Rabbis in that sector have been telling them not to go to the IDF and to ignore draft notices. And when the law is enforced? It appears these ultra-Orthodox do not believe in equal rights. They, presumably, didn’t get Peres’ message.

It took me an hour to get home yesterday, because of the demonstrations. Many drivers took the opportunity to wind down their window and use their right to freedom of expression to tell the protesters what they thought of them. It wasn’t complimentary.

No right

The situation of the draft of Yeshiva students to the IDF in Israel, just got a little more interesting (and heated). This, from Ynet:

High Court decides to cut funding for draft-dodging yeshiva students

Grants for yeshiva students whose enlistment to IDF was delayed by defense minister to stop, High Court of Justice rules

In a dramatic decision Tuesday, the High Court of Justice, composed of nine justices – with a majority of eight to one – issued an interim order forbidding the government from funding yeshiva students whose draft date was delayed.

The decision applies to yeshiva students aged 18 to 20, who were served with enlistment orders beginning in August 2013 and have not reported at the recruitment center because of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s decision to delay the draft date because “the question of jurisdiction over them is doubtful.”

The demographic consists of yeshiva students born in 1994, 1995, and the first half of 1996.

As you can imagine, that went down well in certain quarters:

According to MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism): “There has not been one time that the court helped the haredim. Cutting funding for yeshivot is a severe escalation, a declaration of war on the haredi public in Israel and abroad.”

Then, there’s this:

He added: “The yeshiva funding is given as a right and not as charity, and should not be conditioned on enlistment or any other stipulation. Like all citizens of Israel we are entitled to funding, just as tax money and American financial aid is directed towards cultivating the arts, sports, and activities that are often times against the state – even though the yeshiva funding is given to institutions which hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens see as the prime direct of the Jewish people, learning Torah.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is at the core of the problem.

The religious parties see that funding as a right. But it is not a right.

The sooner there is a level playing field in this arena, the better for all of Israel. And all includes the yeshivah students.