Interesting Israel Radio interview with a haredi man from the extreme fringes of haredi society, the Eda Haredit, at a protest against haredi army enlistment on Monday:
“It states quite clearly in the Torah that if everyone studied Torah then there would be no need for anyone to protect us. The seculars don’t learn Torah; they have nothing to do, so they should enlist into the army. The Eda Haredit is not at all interested in the existence of the State of Israel, so it doesn’t make sense to draft its sons into the Israel Defense Forces.
“We lived quite well here before. We didn’t need an army. We created the occupation and now we need soldiers. The haredim were always opposed to the very establishment of the state. The people who established the state and ignored the positions of the haredim that don’t want a state fell into a trap, and now they want us to help them. It’s not logical.”
Interviewer: If that’s the case, some would say, why not live somewhere else?
Yochanan: This is not private property. We live here, and the State of Israel also lives here. They’re not the owners of this land.
Interviewer: If, God forbid, someone comes to attack you, do you expect the state to defend you?
Yochanan: Let’s say that I do. But the problem is who caused the situation that led to me being attacked in the first place? That’s the question.
According to Israel Radio, at the protest rally against the haredi draft on Monday night in Shabbat Square in Jerusalem, posters were on display which said: “We didn’t take any money from you, so we’re not beholden unto you and your decrees.”
“We will not submit to the decrees of the state, and we will not serve in the army.”
For those of us who perhaps don’t understand the mindset of the Eda Haredit, the above interview sums it up nicely. I think it also shows that
a) The state is clearly not going to draft these people into the army
b) There is absolutely no way to integrate this group of people into the larger population, even in a way that allows them to keep the essentials of their way of life; they live completely in another reality to the secular/ national religious majority here. They want nothing to do with us.
How do you integrate a whole population whose entire purpose for being is not to be integrated into anything? Whose entire way of life is dedicated to staying just the way they are? And if they are not integrated into the state, if they don’t serve, and don’t work, and they grow in size, how will we all live together in this tiny, troubled country?
The following video is from the rally. It’s in Yiddish, the language Jews spoke in the Diaspora..