Why do Orthodox Jews Refuse to Serve in the Israeli Army?

Probably no legislation in the history of the State of Israel has generated as much controversy and public protest as the law passed on March 12, 2014 requiring Orthodox Jews to serve in the Israeli Defense Force [IDF]. Why do Anti Zionism Jews refuse to serve in the IDF? Why were they exempt until now? And why was the government so determined to pass this law, which is still the cause of mass protests and arrests almost every week?

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 with no political aspirations.
Unfortunately, the Zionist movement came later, with a different purpose in mind. They came to take over the land and create a state. Very quickly they instigated conflict and became involved in wars with the local non-Jewish population, and with neighboring countries.

Also on another level, the Zionist movements’ goal was to transform Judaism from a religion into a secularism, a nationalism. They were bent on uprooting and destroying the Orthodox Jewish communities.

From the beginning of the Zionist concept, the indigenous Jewish population where in total opposition to the new Zionist movement.

The movement was vehemently denounced by all the Rabbinic authorities as a violation of Judaism. The Torah teaches that the Holy Land was given to the Jews by the Almighty and taken away from them 2000 years ago by the Almighty. Since the Almighty sent the Jews into exile, only He can redeem them from exile; 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.

Needless to say, the Jewish Orthodox community in Palestine lived on the best of terms with its Palestinian neighbors. This peaceful coexistence was typical of Jews living throughout the Middle East in Muslim countries prior to Zionism.
When the state was founded in 1948 through massive land theft, murder and expulsion of the Palestinian people, the Orthodox community was repulsed by the Zionists’ immoral conduct and refused to serve in their lawless army, the deceptively named “Israel Defense Force.”

The Zionists at the time understood that they could not force the old religious community to participate in their army and their wars. The Zionist leaders know that they were not powerful enough to force the Jews to rebel against the Almighty. Those religious Jews would not transgress the laws of the Torah that they had upheld at the cost of their lives for generations.

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 with their Arab neighbors, following the Torah, taking no interest in political power and opposing the existence of their State. 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.

For decades the so-called Israeli government attempted by all means to change the view and destroy the values of real true Judaism. But the religious community remained uninfluenced by their propaganda. Now they have turned to forced conscription into their immoral army as a means of indoctrinating our youth.

They don’t just insist that we accept their movement, but they attempt to force our people to actively participate in their wicked actions and by doing so, violate Judaism. Furthermore, they only need these recruits, Jewish boys dressed with yarmulkes, beards and side-locks, in order to bolster their claim that they represent Judaism and all Jewry.

Dozens of Orthodox Jewish men have been recently arrested for their religious principled refusal to serve in the Israeli Defense Force. Religious Jews who stand up for their beliefs are being brutalized. The Israeli poliIce break into people’s houses in the middle of the night, drag them out and throw them into prisons for months and even years.

But our communities refuse to participate in the immoral Israeli army. We will not abandon our Torah values! We will not change our beliefs. Faithful to the Torah, we will never serve in the military of a state that we do not recognize and always opposed.

As one member of the Jerusalem Jewish community commented: “For all these years we have suffered indescribably under Israeli rule, yet persevered by insulating our communities and preserving our way of life. Now they want to take us away and force us to fight in their army. They want us to rebel against the Almighty, oppress and massacre another people, help them make enemies in the world and portray us as partners in their military campaigns.”

The Orthodox Jews of the Holy Land, with the help of the Almighty, will continue to go to jail and submit to whatever punishments the state can devise, they will not succumb to this decree of forced conscription. And we, their brethren in America and throughout the world, support them all the way.

We pray to the Almighty for a speedy, peaceful and total dismantlement of the Zionist State of Israel.

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