Israeli Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai (pictured) is a Sephardi member of Shas, the party founded and led by Sephardi Gadol Rav Ovaida Yosef. And his attitudes on most things reflect the Charedi point of view. In what has to be one of the stupidest statements ever made by an Israeli government official he recently said that the reason there were negative results in the last Lebanon war (2006) was because the soldiers were not observant.
Really? How then does he explain the positive results of the 6 day war? Or the war for independence? Or just about every other war Israel has fought and won? Were those soldiers any more observant than those who fought in Lebanon in 2006?
But fear not. In what is one of the most laughable statements of this whole debacle Mr. Yishai actually said that the soldiers in the six day war were indeed more religious which is why they won the war. Quoting Yisahi Ha'aretz wrote:
"In the Six Day War, every Jew, and every Jew that went to battle, raised their eyes to the creator,"
Right. Moshe Dayan and Yizhak Rabin, two of the military heroes of that war both raised their eyes to God. And every pilot that flew a mission in 67 was a student in Brisk. They flew their missions Bein HaSedarim!
Is Yishai kidding?!
Yisrael Klauzner an irate father of a soldier that was killed in action during the 2006 Lebanon war called him out – saying that Yishai’s statement was not worthy of a response. Not only was his son observant but according to Klausner: Over half of the fallen soldiers were from settlements or were religious!
But here is the money quote from the Jerusalem Post:
Klauzner also called on the government not to resign the Tal Law, which affords a draft deferral for yeshiva students, arguing that they should be sent to fight in lieu of secular soldiers."If so many religious soldiers don’t go to the army and the secular soldiers who go instead of them are the ones who die I say they shouldn't go. Either they shouldn't enlist or the state should just draft the religious and they can fight and ensure a victory."
In light of Yishai’s statement, how can anyone argue with this? If you want to have victories and victory is based on the how religious the soldiers are, then by all means have an all religious army. Exempt the secular and draft only observant Jews. Datim are already there. Charedim should lose their exemptions and be drafted. Then you will have an all observant army and go on win glorious victories! That should be a no brainer to Yishai.
Of course Yishai realized how he came off and quickly apologized. He added: The families of the fallen are sacred to the people of Israel.
Yes he apologized. And well he should have! The problem is that he did not say he was wrong. If he really felt that he was wrong he would not have made that comment in the first place. I believe he just felt bad that he hurt the families of the soldiers killed in action.
And that is the underlying problem here. He didn’t just make up his original statement up out of whole cloth. This is the current Charedi mentality. This is what is emphasized in their schools and their shuls… in their speeches and their lectures. The government and all its institutions – including the army - are evil and the cause of all problems in the State!
If a war is lost and people die, it’s because the army isn’t religious. The only Hishtadlus (determined effort) that counts is the spiritual one. The physical Hashtadlus is at best secondary – if it exists at all. Physical Hishstudlus in their mind counts for nothing if those doing it aren’t religious.
How different is the Charedi mindset over that of the great Charedi Gadol of the past, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz. He praised not only the spiritual contributions of his Yeshiva Bachurim in the Mir but gave equal praise to the IDF for their physical contributions in successfully defending the country during one of their wars … instead of condemning them for not being religious enough!
Is there any wonder why there is such resentment by the secular of the Charedim? It isn’t only about the extremists. It isn’t even about the apologetics of the wider Charedi community. It is about an ingrained belief that no longer recognizes any value of contributions from the non Torah world.
That has been replaced by a hatred of the secular world generated by decades Charedi indoctrination to see only Frumkeit as having any value. If one has any doubt of that - when was the last time anyone ever heard a good word about the IDF along the lines of Rav Chaim? All we ever hear now from those quarters is how evil they are.