On Sunday, there was a large demonstration in Jerusalem by haredim protesting against their potential enlistment into the army. (See here, here, and here.) The essence of their position is that they want the right not to serve.

I have no sympathy with that position. I am content to follow Ben Gurion’s original idea of having the cream of the crop of true Torah scholars exempted, but that would be a small number.

They scream blue murder alleging they are being punished for studying Torah – bollocks – and care nothing for those who give of their time, their selves, and sometimes their life, for Israel. They are hypocrites, cowards, and spongers. Do I need to make my position clearer?

In Ra’anana, Susan and I belong to Beit Knesset Ohel Ari. The rabbi of the congreation is Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth. (He is also involved with Beit Hillel.) One of the reasons we belong to Ohel Ari is the Rabbi; we admire and respect him.

This email (about the protest) from him to the congregation is brave, and further proof of the man’s character. If only the haredi leadership had half his honesty and love of their fellow Jew.

Dear BKOA Members,

I do not usually do this, but as someone who served six years in the army have been through intense training, fought in special operations and lost friends who fell in battle , this issue is burning inside me and I cannot remain silent.

The call of some Roshei Yeshivot Hesder and religious Zionist rabbis to attend ultra-Orthodox demonstration in Jerusalem, is infuriating .

Over the course of 65 years of the existence of the State of Israel, we have proven that we can incorporate the service of our Nation and the Country in the army, with the study of Torah. Religious Zionism produced Talmidei Chachamin and Torah scholars alongside great leaders and commanders .

We educate our children on ideology of ​​Safra and Sayfa (the book and the sword). The Torah is dear to us than gold . We love Torah, we learn Torah, we strongly support the yeshivot and wish to strengthen the Torah world .

How is it possible to participate in a demonstration calling against the service of our Nation and State? How can we betray the core values on which ​​we were brought up? Serving in the army in our times is a Mitzvah D’oraita (from the Torah)

We ought to echo and articulate the question of Moshe Rabbenu: “Shall your brothers go to war and you will sit here?”

We must strongly resist this phenomena and deliver a clear message to our children, our friends and our leaders, that this was not the way of the Torah.

Bsorot Tovot,


The man’s a mensch.