In an effort to counter increased draft dodging, the heads of the Nahal Haredi battalion have begun an aggressive campaign to recruit yeshiva students who are not up to the task of a full Talmud study schedule. Nahal Haredi is an organization, founded 8 years ago, whose goal is to enable yeshiva dropouts to serve in the Zionist army while maintaining their level of Torah observance.
Sources within the battalion recently leaked the names of current or former Nahal Haredi soldiers who are the sons or grandsons of prominent rabbis and religious MKs - such as the son of Telz Stone Chief Rabbi Aryeh Shulman, and the son of Shas MK Chaim Amsalem.
No major ultra-Orthodox rabbi has expressed open support for the Nahal Haredi, which is seen in the religious community as a fringe phenomenon targeting yeshiva dropouts who are in danger of leaving the religious fold. Anti-Zionist rabbis have condemned the program as participation in the Zionist enterprise of conquering the Holy Land and waging war with other nations, which is forbidden by the Talmud.
Meanwhile, last week Nahal Haredi officials inundated ultra-religious neighborhoods with flyers and posters that called on young yeshiva students not currently enrolled in a Torah institute who want to earn a respectable salary to call a toll free number.
The Jerusalem Post called the number that appeared on the flyer titled Have you thought about your future? and was answered by an IDF induction clerk.
With Nahal Haredi attempting to broaden its enlistment, now is the time for rabbis and heads of yeshivas in the non-Zionist community to speak out and explain the Torah position on the Zionist state and its army. The general population of traditionally Orthodox Jews is confused about this issue, and some are under the impression that we are only against going to the army because we want our boys to study Torah instead.
In this week's Torah portion, we read: "And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid, because I said, lest you steal your daughters from me (Genesis 31:31). The words because I was afraid, because I said, seem to be repetitious. Jacob could have said, Because I was afraid lest you steal& or Because I said, lest you steal but why did he need to say both? The Satmar Rebbe explained: we know that it is forbidden to live with a wicked person, for our Sages say (Succah 56b), Woe to the wicked man, woe to his neighbor. So when Laban asked Jacob, Why did you run away secretly? Jacob should have replied honestly, in accordance with his attribute of truth: Because it is forbidden to live with you. But like most good people when confronted by the wicked, Jacob was embarrassed to speak so boldly. He instead looked for another, less offensive justification for running away from Laban lest Laban steal his wives. But at the same time, Jacob knew this was not really the right way to speak, and he feared that G-d would punish him for hiding the truth. For when one speaks against the wicked using secondary reasons, neglecting to say openly the main reason, the end will be that someone will be misled, thinking that when those secondary reasons are not present, there is no longer a problem. This is what Jacob meant when he said, I was afraid of being punished because I said, lest you steal your daughters I am afraid of being punished for not saying the whole truth.
Here also, if the rabbis and heads of yeshivas continue to give the impression that we don't let boys go to the Zionist army only because we want them to continue their studies, the end will be that many people will be misled, thinking that when that reason is not present, there is no longer a problem. We must speak up and say the whole truth: that the Torah forbids Jews to have a state, an army, and to fight wars against other nations.