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Israeli Leader Greeted With High-Profile Ads by American Jews

Oct. 1, 2013

As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived in Washington this week to visit with President Obama, and New York to speak to the United Nations General Assembly, American Orthodox Jews have responded with an ad in Wednesday's (Oct. 2, 2013) Washington Post, stating that Netanyahu does not speak in the name of the Jewish people and that, in fact, his government is currently endangering the Orthodox community there by attempting to conscript their boys into the army.

The ad also stated that according to the Torah, G-d commanded the Jewish people not to fight wars against any other nation, and that therefore the government’s current plan to forcibly draft Torah Jews is an attack on their freedom of religion.


During Netanyahu’s speech at the UN on Tuesday, protesters unfurled a 30 by 30 foot sign reading: "Bibi Netanyahu: Stop Your Forced Conscription of Orthodox Jews." The sign was held aloft on a truck between 3 and 4 PM on 1st Avenue opposite the UN building.



“The subject of forced conscription has become an issue around which Orthodox Jews from various communities have rallied over the past year,” said Yirmiyahu Cohen, a representative of True Torah Jews who spoke to the media outside the UN on Tuesday.

“The Orthodox community in the Holy Land predates Zionism by hundreds of years. Many of the Orthodox there today are descendents of these Jews from around the world who came to Jerusalem to live a life of peaceful study and service of G-d. The Jewish community lived in peace alongside the Arabs and had no desire to dominate the land or create a sovereign state.

“When the Zionists created their state in 1948, they established a compulsory draft. Through negotiation, a compromise was reached allowing the Orthodox an exemption because of their ongoing study in a yeshiva, a Torah academy. But this year, the Israeli government overturned the status quo and passed a law that Orthodox Jews must join the army or face prison time.

“The Orthodox follow the Torah and Talmud, which say that Jews must remain peacefully in exile in our time and may not fight wars. Thus for them, army service would mean an abandonment of their religious principles. They see the current law as anti-religious persecution,” Cohen concluded.