Orthodox Jews will hold a public protest outside the Israeli Consulate at 800 Second Avenue, NYC, followed by a march to the offices of the Friends of the Israel Defense Force, 60 E. 42nd St, this Friday June 21, 2019 at 1 PM, in response to recent escalation of the drafting of girls into the Israeli army and the recent arrest of 3 women activists for providing legal advice to girls facing military draft.
Since 2013, the Israeli government has instructed its army to do everything in its power to increase the enlistment of religious Jewish girls. According to Jewish religious law, Jews may not serve in the Israeli army. For girls especially, the draft is seen as an effort to uproot the religious beliefs and lifestyle of the Jewish community.
Originally the Israeli government exempted any girl who sent in an affidavit declaring that she observed the basics of Jewish law. The army still officially exempts religious girls, but they are taking steps to draft them by finding flaws in their paperwork, or by subjecting them to harsh interrogation with the goal of claiming that they are not sufficiently religious.
The Israeli government is currently using its military as a tool to uproot religion from the Orthodox community. But even if the army was a religious environment, and even if they did not draft girls, Judaism teaches that Jews must remain in exile until the coming of the messiah, pray for the wellbeing of their host countries and not rebel against any nation. Therefore the existence of the State of Israel and all wars it fights are forbidden.
Those who are drafted but refuse to serve due to their beliefs are treated brutally, imprisoned or subjected to other harsh penalties. Peaceful demonstrators, who protest publicly against the government’s policy, are being met with extreme force, dispersed by inhumane means, such as horse trampling, water cannons and stun grenades, causing bodily injuries to men, women and children.
‘Chomosayich’ is a support organization for those Jewish youth of the community who wish to avoid the draft. The organization set up a watch-guard team to stand outside the IDF recruitment office to monitor and protect the religious youth who enter the building to request their exemptions from serving in the army. Their purpose is to inform young people of their legal rights and shield them from arrest and imprisonment in the event that they do not obtain an exemption. The volunteers of Chomosayich stand at their posts all year round, leaving behind their family obligations, undeterred by the fierce sun and cold rains.
On Sunday, June 16, 2019, three women volunteers of Chomosayich were handcuffed and arrested by Israeli police and interrogated as to who is sending them to stand there. After fierce protests in the streets of Jerusalem, they were released, but banned from coming near the recruitment office for fifteen days. The police seek to ban their standing there for a longer period of time, though they have violated no law.
It should be noted that the State of Israel is one of only three countries in the world with compulsory army service for girls.
“Jews follow the Torah, serve G-d and are loyal citizens of the countries where they reside,” said Rabbi Hershel Klar, an organizer for the demonstration. “That is indeed how Jews have lived historically during many centuries, including in the Holy Land prior to Zionism. Zionism is a new, heretical movement that attempts to replace religion with nationalism and, in effect, destroys Jewish belief and practice. The Israeli army and the wars it carries out are violations of the Jewish religion.The Israeli government’s primary motive with the current forced conscription laws is to assimilate religious Jews into their culture and society. As David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister described the army as the “melting pot” of Israeli society.
“That’s why they are putting so much effort into drafting religious boys and girls. They use the girls to help meet their recruitment quotas. It started a few years ago with a small number of girls they claimed were not actually religious, but now thousands have been drafted (2,700 girls in 2018 alone). Just last week, they arrested and brutally jailed four girls refusing to enlist, one of whom already enlisted earlier but deserted the army when she couldn’t tolerate the army environment. This week, they arrested three women who have committed no crime, only helped advise girls of their legal rights.
“Anti-Zionist Jews, as conscientious objectors, deserve the right to be exempt from service in the Israeli army, as set down in UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/77.
“These violations of Torah and oppression of its followers are only another proof that the State of Israel does not represent the Jewish religion or the Jewish people.”