Ha’aretz reports on the the stunning news – more than 50,000 haredim took (indefinite) draft deferments rather than serve in the Israeli armed forces. That’s 50,000 this year alone:
In evaluating the Tal Law, other figures are also worth noting: For example, 10 percent of army-age Jewish males receive a deferral instead of being inducted at age 18. This amounts to about 4,500 [new deferments] annually. A Central Bureau of Statistics table of education systems shows that 23 percent of Jewish first-grade boys are enrolled in ultra-Orthodox institutions. In another 12 years those boys will be conscription age. Even if we assume that some are not ultra-Orthodox, and will therefore serve in the army, it is doubtful the IDF can afford a deferment rate of even 18 percent.
In other words, haredim will not only have bankrupted their own communities but they will have endangered the lives of Jews in the process. How bad is this? How much are the haredim opposed to doing their share? This much:
…More than a few ultra-Orthodox rabbis, particularly from the Degel Hatorah movement, strenuously opposed the Tal Law. Most prominent among these rabbis was the head of the Maalot Hatorah Yeshiva, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, who is expected to be an important Degel Hatorah leader in another 10 years or so. At first the Tal Law’s opponents published letters and posters and hounded the law’s proponents. MK Avraham Ravitz (UTJ), however, says that in retrospect, there was practically no need for their struggle.
Few in the ultra-Orthodox public made an effort to realize the [potential benefits of the] Tal Law. One ultra-Orthodox journalist explains that the community’s newspapers never detailed the law’s content, and did not inform their young readers of the decision year option. [The haredi press is controlled by haredi rabbinic leaders. HaModia by the Gerrer Rebe, Yated Ne’eman by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.] The numbers clearly show that not just the strongest objectors – the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox – are not taking advantage of the "year of decision." Even the Sephardim and Hassidim, who have a greater tendency to join the work force, are not rushing out of their yeshivas.
The end is near, my friends. I shudder at the tremendous disaster that, God forbid, it seems we are about to live through.