Strange Bedfellows…..A Societal Cause Many From The Left & Right Can Rally Around…..Did I Just Say That?? Commentary By Adina Kutnicki

One could barely fill a thimble with the number of causes a leftist and rightist will agree upon. But that doesn’t mean that a worthy one should be ignored, just because the opposite side is embracing and championing it. Not at all. Morally right – no pun intended – is morally right. Period. 

To catch American (and other nationals) readers up to speed, here’s the deal-there is a growing, some might say gaping, chasm traversing the Israeli landscape. Its core revolves around the Tal Law (to be explained below), and the Knesset commissions set up to address this volatile issue.

In particular, the above law is designed to exempt the ultra-Orthodox (mainly Haredim) and Arab communities from army enlistment and national community service. The ultra-Orthodox are “up in arms” about pressures – via public heat applied upon the politicians – exerted on them to enlist (in either IDF or national community service),due to their insistence on learning full time in Torah-based studies, and that nothing should be allowed to interfere with that. Beg to differ.

Whereas Israel’s essence derives from its place as a “light unto the nations”, this is not a mandate for full time learning for many thousands of boys and girls post high school. Firstly, not all Torah learners are equal. Let’s face facts. Just as in any discipline there are those who will be exceptional scholars, others – not so much. Besides, a deep connection to G-d does not require full time learning! The Orthodox concept, “Torah v’madah” – Torah and work – is a much accepted and central Orthodox construct.

Specifically, those who want to learn will find the time, be it in the evening hours or on the weekends. (My son, and many of his friends are passionate Torah learners, yet they combine IDF reserve service, full time professional jobs, and weekend Torah learning, why can’t the Haredim?) More to the point, those who are exceptional Torah scholars – there are many tests/ways to pick them out-are the ones who should be exempted in order to dedicate themselves to full time Torah studies, for it will be their unique grasp of Torah studies which will guide future generations. As to the rest, they must either choose between army or communal service, and an agreeable formula can be reached. Either way, this group of healthy citizens will need to shoulder the national burden. They would serve their nation well if they finally ! got with the program.

Let’s also face (uncomfortable) facts – many want to (mis)use Torah studies – a very worthy and noble pursuit, in and of itself – as an easy cop out to not shoulder their national burden.

As to the Arabs, this is another kettle of fish, but equally important to address. Many, though hardly all, display utter contempt for the nation which has given them more freedom, wealth and opportunity than they can dream of, let alone ever find in the Arab nations they heart with. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Of course, their ever inciting Arab leadership – political and communal – whine about this or that disparity between Arabs and Jews, therefore, their people should be exempt from any national service. Poppycock.

Nevertheless, the Arab formula for national service must be more nuanced, even though many will rail against it. Too damn bad. Therefore, it behooves cooler heads to prevail, getting real in the process. Except for special cases – these exceptions can be discerned through various intelligence agencies – in no way, shape or form dare our leadership enlist Arabs en mass into our IDF! Fox in the hen house.

Let us learn from our American friends, as they are waking up to their own internal horror, due to the enlistment of over a hundred (who knows how many more will be identified) “Islamic soldiers” within the US Army. The Pentagon has become dangerously infected with the PC virus, therefore, none of this should come as a shock. Thus, the FBI is now busy tracking them down-http://www.npr.org/2012/06/25/155710570/fbi-checking-100-suspected-extremists-in-military, attempting to avert another mass killing akin to Fort Hood’s “servant of Allah”, Major Nidal Hasan. His was not an isolated case, far from it.

Thereby, in order to pretend that all communities are considered “equal” in Israeli society, does this delusional thinking warrant giving many – who abhor us to the extreme, identifying with our genocidal foes – the tools to kill us, but this time, from within? Are our leaders that insane? Let’s hope not. However, national/communal service definitely fits the bill for the Arab community. Why in the world shouldn’t Arabs, who enjoy all our social services, contribute their time? In fact, it may even open up their (biased) eyes, showing them that Jews are also poor, victimized and in need of many helping hands. Why shouldn’t they extend theirs? Indeed.

Back to the convergence of leftists and rightists rallying around a cause. There have been many demonstrations, from different sectors of the community, calling for the same thing-service for all. The leaders of this are mainly IDF recruits, feeling betrayed and taken advantage of, hence, “Camp Sucker”. To get a glimpse into their protest movement please see this very informative encapsulation-http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=276433&R=R2.

As a patriot, as a woman who understands that our people would be lost without our Torah, and as an equal opportunity sharer of our national burden, this movement is not only moral, but it is just. Besides, why should my sons, olim/immigrants too – as well as many others – protect the nation, while others sit idly by at their expense?

Not nice. Not nice at all. The repeal of the Tal Law can’t come soon enough!

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4 thoughts on “Strange Bedfellows…..A Societal Cause Many From The Left & Right Can Rally Around…..Did I Just Say That?? Commentary By Adina Kutnicki

  1. Adina, I am the mother of a US veteran.

    In times of national crisis it is essential that every able bodied man be willing to protect and defend the country. Period. In US history, going back to the revolution, families who held their sons back from enlistment were met with unpleasant confrontations with neighbors whose sons were getting shot at. One case, my 95-yr old neighbor, is the grandson of a southern non-slave owner who tried to keep his sons out of the Civil war. His neighbors came to his house and said they will serve or we’ll shoot them. Eventually Sherman came through with the US army forces, seized all the livestock and burnt the barns. Guess it’s just human nature to expect the tribe to pull together regardless.

  2. Shalom Beth,
    Couldn’t agree more. Every able bodied person who refuses to do their duty-whether in direct combat or national/communal service-should be hauled off to the recruitment center, and that’s that.
    Nothing less is acceptable.

  3. Years ago, my wife and I were blessed with four young kids w/in two years and ten months. We arranged for an au pair from Israel (we are Jewish) to help out. This wonderful young lady was from the Religious Zionist camp and just outstanding, although she did have some stars in her eyes about America on this, her first time away from home.

    Our aupair had a few dates with a young, American Modern Orthodox attorney and seemed rather smitten with him. This was obvious when she came home one day singing his praises, “Moshe and I agree on all the important things. He even agrees that the Haredim (in Israel) should serve in the Army”! I inquired as to when Moshe was planning to sign up with the Golani and got a smirk back from our au pair. She subsequently returned to Israel and married a very nice sabra.

  4. Shalom Marc,
    Very cute story, and your au pair surely had her head on straight, knowing full well, as is said, talk is cheap! You were lucky to have her.The point being, it is easy for a person to ‘talk smack’, telling others to ‘get with the program’.

    Nevertheless, the Modern Orthodox in the US (which is how I was raised, and I am very familiar with the ins and outs of their thinking) are akin to the National Religious (Dati L’umi) in Israel. However, this group of religious Israelis doesn’t just talk, they ‘walk the walk’! It is a verifiable fact, they are the backbone of the IDF, not only as soldiers, but as officers, primarily operating in the most elite combat divisions.

    Why is this relevant? Simply put, it is this group which can honestly be called the ‘poster’ boys for what it means to successfully combine religious studies and army service, knowing full well it is their national obligation.

    Most, though not all, attend what is called the ‘Hesder’ program. It is a post high school religious program combining Torah learning with preparatory courses for the army. They are some of the army’s finest soldiers, even secular leaders point this out.

    Another thing-there is a significant sub culture of draft dodgers from the secular left communities, mainly hailing from the Tel Aviv area and its confines. We like to call them the ‘branja brats’. In fact, former PM Olmert’s sons are poster boys for this draft dodging set-imagine that!

    As such, these shirkers, many who are highly connected to the leftist movers and shakers, must also be dragged-even kicking and screaming-into the army. They too must do their duty!
    ‘Camp Sucker’ got it right-and I am not speaking politically, just morally!

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