Jan 27, 2014

MK Porush on soldier unemployment in the IDF

Does Mk Meir Porush (UTJ) make a good point?

A report was just exposed to the public that says the IDF is planning to reform its system of service for administrative positions - due to having a surplus of soldiers. They have so many soldiers with nothing to do that they have set up a committee to analyze the situation and recommend a solution - possibly the shortening of army service for certain parts of the army, from 3 years of service to 2.

Porush says in response to the report that behind the slogan of "shivyon bnetel" clearly lies only a desire to fight against those who learn Torah. It does not make sense that they have to forcibly draft haredim, claiming the army needs them, when the army already has thousands of unemployed soldiers that the army has no use for.
source: Bechadrei

does he have a good argument? while there is a surplus of soldiers n certain parts of the army, there is also a shortage in other parts - such as combat units. While some haredim would go into administrative positions, in which there is a surplus, some will also go to combat or other units where there is a need.

While there might be room to discuss percentages, and length of service, and take into consideration that status of different units and divisions, I do not think there is a place to say the entire thing is a farce and no haredim are needed. That is not true. no haredim are needed in certain units, but in other units they are needed just like every other sector of society is.

Unfortunately the Haredi MKs refused to cooperate and participate in the discussions and debates in finding an appropriate solution, so coming now with claims that things were not done 100% properly is disingenuous. They had a chance to influence the makeup of the haredi draft, but decided the right thing to do was not participate.

I do not know if MK Porush is right or wrong. But even if he is right, he should have worked to make the haredi draft more efficient and targeted over the past months, and not just stand around complaining as if that is going to stop it from happening.

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  1. I would add that shivyon banetel is nothing to do with surplus of soldiers or lack thereof. Nobody will complain if army service is cut from 3 years to 2. If the Hareidim would all serve, (or do their share in whatever way) perhaps that could be shortened even more. And almost certainly it could have been shortened in the past. I don't recall any politician ever saying that the reason for drafting Hareidim was due to a lack of manpower. It was always either because it is unfair that they do not participate, or unfair to the Hareidim that due to their lack of participation they are kept on the lowest rungs of society. I fail to see how MK Porush's comments are making a kiddush Hashem.

  2. The shivyon banetel was definitely brought up, among other things, because of some perceived shortage of soldiers but I'm not sure where Rafi gets his info that there is a shortage in combat units. If anything, maybe mechanics which are later in short demand in the reserves, and I don't see Haredim willing to go into that career option and how the army will suddenly establish new male-only instructional units because the vast majority of instructors are girls). For some reason, I'm not sure why Rafi assumes that Haredim will be ready to be split up and go into all units. The facts are that Haredim, will still get drafted older, and/or will get married even earlier so that they could get the extra bonus for married soldiers and are mostly not fit for combat units, physically.

    Even national-religious boys used to not be in good shape for combat units, but since the hesder yeshivot started catching on, there was a social approval to get ready, physically, for the combat units. Until the Haredi world supports active physical training, Haredi boys will not be seen running in the streets of Bnei Brak and Beitar Illit building up their stamina.

    I'll go on the record to say that NO Haredim are needed for the personnel needs of the army and certainly for its budget. It really is that some dominant people think that the army is mainly a tool to build national cohesiveness, above defence (please see the study about how the drive to push girls into combat units is detrimental an many levels: http://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/269603) In that article we read about multiple studies showing how women in combat units is bad for women, and the army. Bennet and Lapid rammed this platform through without bothering to do the hard work of building a long-term with a good base, beginning with the silent support of the rabbis.


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