Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dodging Bullets Vs. Dodging Drafts

I generally refrain from posting my thoughts about current hot topics in Israel, for the main reason that I do not yet live there. This is not to say that I am not entitled to an opinion, but rather that I don't feel qualified to express it in such a public way.

However, with today's op-ed about haredi draft-dodging, I feel the urge to add my voice, however ignorant and/or insignificant, into the blogosphere. So here it comes, the opinion I've been holding in for years:

Draft-dodging really, really pisses me off.

The aforementioned article specifically refers to haredim evading army service, but that pisses me off for different reasons than chiloni draft-dodging. Both, however, make me angry.

1) The haredi issue: This, unfortunately, is inextricably linked with the "Eretz Yisroel vs Medinat Yisrael" debate. For me, I don't care what you call it- you're a citizen (for those who are not citizens...well, that's a rant for a different day...), you're getting government aid to raise your children, feed your family and keep a roof over their heads, and you should have to follow the same laws as everyone else. You want to be a Kollel husband? Then do your years of service in the army, and spend the rest of your life learning. No one person can claim that their life is more precious than someone else's, so why should someone else's child risk their life so that yours can learn Gemara and pretend that the outside world doesn't exist?

2) The chiloni issue: As much as the non-haredi world likes to sling mud at the Men in Black, let's not forget that an uncomfortably large percentage of the draft-dodgers don't play for Team Frumkeit. Unless there's a genuine reason not to serve in the army, I just don't understand why so many are trying to back out. Obviously, it makes sense not to be eager to put yourself in a situation where you might be maimed or killed, and are almost guaranteed to lose friends. But to actively try to avoid protecting Israel? It simply doesn't sit well with me. It makes me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Maybe this is just a very normal "Religious Zionist in America" perspective. I'm sure that, if I were a mother in Israel with army-aged children, I would stay awake at night worrying about them. IM"H, I'll someday be that mom. And I can't help but feel that, as much as I would worry, I would be far prouder to have children serving Tzahal, and protecting the country I love so much, than to know that I raised draft-dodgers.

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