Monday, March 12, 2018
The Draft Law: A Study in Bad Politics
Education Minister Bennett said that there is no reason to push for an immediate draft of all Charedi yeshiva students. Bennett is exactly correct under the current circumstance. BUT, the initial bill should have included a multi-staged enlistment with exceptions allowed from the start, and then this controversy and the subsequent action would not have needed to happen.
Bennett said, "The 'coalition crisis' is hollow (political), there's nothing in it." He said,"The truth may not be popular, but I'll say it anyways: There is a draft compromise, which takes into the fact that over the past decade, more and more haredim are drafting into the IDF each year. If anyone thinks that the IDF can, and knows how to, integrate dozens of thousands of haredim all at once - he is mistaken. The IDF wants exactly this pace."
This is all from the failure of those who support the change to not take a moment to listen to the Chareidim, and turned the initial vote into a battle to be won, and the Chareidim, as a portion of the population to be controlled. Now that it was won, they awaken to the concept that civilians were targeted in their haste. Many members of the Knesset seem to not understand this even at this stage of things.
As MK Oren Hazan (Likud) previously stated, "During the two thousand years of exile, when the Jews prayed in private, quietly, and secretly, sanctifying the name of God, [Torah study] suited us. Today, when we have a state, we won't let them learn Torah? Are we crazy?" Hazan asked.
If the Knesset had shown more sensitivity, would the Chareidim have been looking forward to the integration a bit more? The opportunity to know that was lost by a lack of consensus building prior to the previous vote. Once you know you will win a piece of legislation, it then becomes time to ensure the implementation of the proposed law will be accepted by the people without contention and hurt feelings all around. There was nothing to lose, except all that they could gain, had they chosen to consensus build at that time. Gloating is not consensus building.
Hopefully, and God willing, the current political efforts will make up for the discriminatory aspects of the recently passed legislation. Perhaps it is not too late to turn this into a good thing for the Chareidim also. But that does not remove the poor intentions of some in the Knesset to continue to discriminate against anyone who is not in their own image, who did not perform military service as they did. They were in the army in their youth, so also must the chareidim. Whether the IDF actually needs more soldiers at the moment is one of the factors such MKs refuse to consider. Facts are not welcome by them, only how they feel is that which determines how they vote. At least that is the impression they are giving.
But what if, for example, they had offered Chareidim to volunteer at hospitals instead of army service, does anyone think they would have protested so? No, only out of a spirit of trying to make, the Israel of tomorrow, in their own image, and not in the best interests of the collective population of Israel, did these lawmakers act.
Israel deserves better leadership than that. A leadership that can be wise about tomorrow and sensitive to the people of today. May the quality of leadership in Israel improve. May it soon be so, by the grace of God.