Resisting the Israeli Draft
The Latest Chapter in the Jewish Struggle Against Zionism and the State of Israel
Recently the Israeli government has repeatedly violated the rights of religious Jews in the Holy Land who refuse to serve in its army. In March 2014 the Israelis passed a law requiring Orthodox Jews to serve, forcing them to violate their religious beliefs.
Ever since the State of Israel was founded in 1948, the vast majority of Orthodox Jews have consistently refused on principle to serve in its army.
Most Orthodox Jews in the State of Israel are opposed to Zionism. They don't fly the Israeli flag, they don't celebrate Israeli Independence Day, and they don't serve in the army â€“ following their religious conviction that the existence of the State of Israel is in violation of Jewish religion and that Jews are forbidden to be involved in their military operations. Furthermore, the army indoctrinates its soldiers in the fundamentally secular ideology of Zionism.
Since the passing of the 2014 law mandating the drafting of the Orthodox, the Israeli government has used characteristic brutality to enforce it. Recently, dozens of anti-Zionist youths have been arrested for refusal to join the army.
Religious Jews who stand up for their beliefs are being brutalized. The Israeli police break into people's houses in the middle of the night, drag them out and throw them into prisons for months and even years.
These violent tactics have provoked countless demonstrations in many places throughout the Holy Land, where the members of the anti-Zionist communities have been beaten mercilessly and arrested unjustly.Â
On Sunday, May 15, a protests took place on Highway 1 in Jerusalem against the Israeli police for imprisoning a boy who refused to serve in the army, an Israeli policeman pointed a gun at peaceful demonstrators. When this video spread in the media, many people around the world were finally shocked.
On Sunday, July 3, Israeli police attacked a crowd of over 1000 peaceful demonstrators outside a courthouse in Jaffa, as they protested the imprisonment of Yosef Shlomo Levy, age 20. Levy was jailed and awaiting trial for refusing to respond to a draft notice. The police used brutal riot control methods usually reserved for violent protestors, such as trampling with horses and vicious beatings.Â Â --Â Â Seven of the protestors, including Rabbi Leibel Deutsch of Jerusalem, were arrested.
On Thursday, August 11, a large rally took place in Kikar Hashabos in Jerusalem, where leading rabbis of the anti-Zionist Jewish community of the Holy Land delivered speeches on the subject of the draft.
On Tuesday, August 16, in the city of Beis Shemesh, about 2 miles west of Jerusalem, after many residents hung signs on their private homes saying "We will not join the army," local government officials came down and, in an unjustifiable invasion of private property, tore down the signs. The incident led to increased protesting.
Rabbi Avraham Rabinowitz of Beis Shemesh, who recently visited New York, related first hand descriptions of the brutality of the Zionist police against the Jewish protestors.
"The protesting Jews began to yell, "Thieves!" What is this? You go and invade someone's private home? A crowd gathered, and suddenly the police appeared on the scene in force. They immediately arrested a few Jews and dragged them to prison with great cruelty. I met one of them a week later, and you could see severe bruises on his head. This happened one day after the fast of Tisha B'av, when the religious Jews were still weak. They didn't allow any kosher food in until the following day. The prisoners were suffering in hunger."
On Thursday, August 18, the Israeli police arrested a young man - an orphan - just two weeks before his wedding. The community responded with loud protests. The Israeli police arrived on the scene and beat the protestors murderously.Â Â
A few days later, when the young man was released under the immense pressure of the protestors, he was received with great honor by the anti-Zionist chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Tovia Weiss. The rabbi gave him encouragement in the name of world Jewry.
On another occasion the Chief Rabbi described the situation by saying:
"There is no place in the world where Jews are oppressed, spiritually and physically, as they are oppressed in the Holy Land," said Rabbi Weiss."
Sunday, August 21, a large demonstration took place in front of the recruiting office as a young man was arrested for refusal to serve. The Israeli police responded by attacking the crowd with murderous blows.
On October 10 as Avrohom Tzvi Lederman, an 18-year-old Jewish man, participated in a rally on the streets of Jerusalem in defense of Rabbi Shlomo Zalmen Weisfish, who was unjustly arrested by Israeli police, a sergeant of the Israeli police dragged Lederman by his religious earlocks.
Jewish communities in America also staged several demonstrations especially on this subject.
In May 2013, about a year before the Israeli government passed the law to draft the Orthodox, a protest was held in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York to decry the planned bill. One of the speakers, Mr. Lieberman, introduced the event by explaining its purpose: to proclaim that Jews are not allowed to have their own state, or wage wars against other nations, and that by forcing us to serve in its army, the Israeli government is by definition forcing us to transgress the Torah.
"We are here today to protest against the government of Israel, the whole establishment of which is against our Torah. It is against Judaism and it only gives rise to wars with its neighbors. Now they have gone on to a new stage: to force our children into their army, that we should join them in doing what is forbidden for us by our Torah, to fight other people."
In an interview during the protest, Rabbi Dovid Feldman explained to the media the seriousness of Orthodox Jewry's predicament.
"Our communities in the Holy Land are being battered and harassed in a terrible manner. People don't know about this, because it's not reported to the general public, but we have people here with first hand stories to tell you about what has been happened to many of our colleagues in the past week. One of them was placed in a cell for 48 hours without any food or drink, while the other one was placed in a cell for 24 hours in the very pitch dark, just in order to break their principles."
In his speech, Rabbi Feldman called for the international community to come to the aid of the religious Jews of the Holy Land.
Â "We are talking about intimidation, harassments that no other country has done to our people ever since Nazi Germany. This is bad and tragic, and we plead with nations of the world, with politicians in America and worldwide, to please come to our rescue, and help us to be freed from the oppression at the hands of the government of Israel."
The keynote address was delivered by Rabbi Chaim Yosef Gottlieb of Jerusalem, a well-known speaker, teacher and heroic activist who has spent many long terms in the Zionist prisons. Rabbi Gottlieb made the point that the Zionists have a long history of crimes not only against other nations but also against the Jews themselves. He also mentioned the Three Oaths with which G-d commanded the Jewish people to stay in exile.
"They founded a government and declared war on the nations of the world, they violated the Three Oaths, and killed countless people. May G-d spare us.
They founded a state that fought wars against the nations of the world, especially against the Arabs.
They want to tear away our faith, and besides, they want us in the army, so that they can show the whole world that religious Jews fight against the nations of the world, that religious Jews fight against the Arabs. They are trying to make the Jewish people into murderers. Because of that, Jews are in danger all over the world.
They show pictures on television, of Jews wearing religious garb, may G-d spare us, holding rifles and driving tanks, and with this, they put a religious garb on their wickedness, on their idolatry, may G-d spare us.
"They keep saying in the newspapers, that the Arabs are their enemies, this one or that one is their enemy. But actually they have made them into enemies."
Another major protest in America took place on June 9, 2013. Tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews assembled on the streets of New York City to protest against the existence of the State of Israel, and to condemn the proposed law to draft yeshiva students. Rabbi Nachman Stauber spoke:
"Unfortunately, there is no other army in the world as immoral as the Israeli Army. It is not just a question of stopping Torah study. They will lead the boys into, G-d spare us, immorality, bloodshed, and every other sin in the Torah, sins for which one should allow himself to be killed rather than transgress.
This impure army, which from the day the State of Israel was founded, has spilled so much blood, and brought so much impurity and filth into the world...
Besides all the sins involved, the army is fundamentally a rebellion against G-d's kingdom. The state itself is fundamentally a transgression of the Oaths, a transgression of the prohibition on rebelling against the nations, and against the three cardinal sins of the Torah, for which the worst punishments can be meted out.
Take your hands off the Land of Israel! We are in exile, G-d sent us into exile. We don't understand exile, but we believe in G-d and we believe that whatever He does, He does for our good."
At a massive demonstration on July 11, 2016 in front of the Israeli consulate in New York City, one of the speakers, Rabbi Aaron Jacobowitz, explained the terrible situation brought about by the Israeli army.
"Religious Jews have lived in the Holy Land for hundreds of years peacefully. They came there to study Torah, pray and absorb its sanctified atmosphere. They came there to live peacefully alongside the residents of the land.
Unfortunately, the Zionist movement came later, with a different purpose in mind. They came to take over the land and create a state, in violation of the Torah. â€¦...Â Very quickly, they instigated conflict and became involved in wars with the local non-Jewish population, and with neighboring countries."
Rabbi Jacobowitz continued to explain that the state's true purpose is to uproot authentic Judaism and bring the younger generation over to the Zionist camp.
Â "When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, its leaders understood that they could not force the old religious community to participate in their army and their wars. After all, these people desired only to live in peace as they had previously, as their parents did before them."
"Decades went by, the Orthodox community grew, and then the Israeli leadership changed its tune. They could not stand to see a large community of old-fashioned Jews in their midst, Jews who kept to the ideals of Judaism, living quietly and peacefully, following the Torah, taking no interest in political power. They wanted the religious community to join them and abandon their religion. And what better way to change the religious community, than to draft the young ones into the army and indoctrinate them.
Let no one be fooled. The Israeli army does not need these young boys. The same Israeli army recently turned away thousands of qualified recruits. No, they don't need the Orthodox â€“ their only goal is to force them to abandon their beliefs. There only goal is spiritual genocide."
Rabbi Isaac Weiss, one of the leading rabbis and activists in Jerusalem was a guest speaker at the rally.
"The truth is that we must protest, even against the entire Zionism, even if they were to keep the entire Torah, even if they would not commit any sins, because the very concept of Zionism is heresy. And there in the army, they carry out the violation of the Three Oaths, which forbid us to go out of exile. Everyone must know that when you come out here to protest [in America], it gives encouragement to us, the Orthodox Jews of the Holy Land, to be able to continue the struggle. And it gives our youth the courage to resist and go to prison."
A mass demonstration in front of the offices of "Friends of the IDF" in New York City took place on July 11, 2016.
Rabbi Chaim Yosef Gottlieb from Jerusalem spoke to the crowd:
"The Zionists - they spend millions to draw Jews away from Judaism and to kill. Is it because they have a lot of money? No, they are the poorest country in the world. They have to go begging around the whole world. Â We are standing here in front of an office of beggars. They are raising money in order to destroy the Jewish people. They pay 10,000 dollars to anyone who can lure a boy into the army. We have to learn from our enemies, that we should spend money to uphold our beliefs. We should spend on teaching Jews about Judaism, on holding protests, so that our activists shouldn't have to worry about a budget. We should throw money at them, so that they can do anything possible to show the entire world that we are not Zionists, we don't fight with the Arabs, or with anyone else in the world. We are commanded with Three Oaths. The Satmar Rebbe used to cry out that if not for the Zionists, the world would have been redeemed long ago. They bring on troubles, tragedies and misfortunes."
At a rabbinical conference in Mahwah, New Jersey, August 2016, Rabbi Aaron Jacobowitz explained the fundamental reasons for Jewish opposition to Zionism in general and to serving in the Israeli army in particular.
"Since Jews have been exiled from the Holy Land, we are not to aspire to political nationalism. We are bound by Divine oath to accept the yoke of diaspora and live in peace and harmony within the nations that Divine destiny has placed us in. Jews are forbidden to create a sovereign state of their own, to rebel against any nation, to shed any blood, or to wage wars against any nation.
Therefore the greatest rabbinical authorities vehemently opposed the Zionist movement from the very beginning, and refused to recognize their State of Israel when it was created.Â We will never serve in the army of a state that we do not recognize.
But our community refuses to participate in the illegitimate immoral Israeli army. We will never support it. We will not abandon our Torah values! We will not change our beliefs. We would rather go to jail than be part of it".
On September 22, while Israeli PM was addressing the 71st United Nations General assembly, a mass rally of Orthodox Jews took place outside the UN headquarters in New York City, to protest the existence of the state of Israel in general and its recent forcing the Orthodox Jews to take part in its bloody wars against the Palestinians.
"We cannot serve in the army because the Torah prohibits us to wage war against any nation. And therefore we cannot and will not serve in the Israeli army, even if we are forced to. We will not give in on our religious principles."
Rabbi Yirmiyahu Cohen, a spokesmen for the demonstration, spoke to the press:
"Netanyahu always says that he is the prime minister of the Jewish State. By calling it the Jewish state, he has a purpose. He wants to insinuate that all the Jews all over the world are really part of his state, whether they want to be or not. This is a very dangerous thing. What he wants with this is, because he can make all the speeches he wants in the UN, but when he goes back to his country, what he is going to do is, to continue building the settlements, expanding the settlements, angering the world.Â We are here today to protest against him, and tell to the world that he does not speak in our name. "