Yeshiva Har Bracha
In light of the campaign of threats and demands of the Ministry of Defense on students from Yeshiva Har Bracha, the administration of the Yeshiva has decided to assist its students to enroll in other similar-minded yeshivas, affording them the opportunity to successfully complete their Hesder course in the I.D.F.
We are confident that the firm connection with the students will not be harmed, and they will continue to visit, learn, and draw strength from the spirit of the Yeshiva and its teachings. They are all loved and welcome in our learning hall.
The Yeshiva administration has decided that from now on, the course of studies will be similar to all other regular yeshivas. We are content with our public position, despite the heavy price the Yeshiva must pay.
Those students who decided not to accept our solution and remain in the Yeshiva, being prepared to sit in jail for long periods of time, are, through their actions, sanctifying the name of God. How fortunate they are to be apprehended for up-holding the Torah, and how fortunate we are to have such young heroes. They are the future of the nation.
We hope that, with time, personalities within the Ministry of Defense will change or repent, allowing Yeshiva Har Bracha to once again offer its students the opportunity to proudly serve in the I.D.F. through the Hesder program.
We pray that in spite of the crisis, in the merit of its firm and clear stance, the Yeshiva will flourish and thrive in attracting students and expanding courses of study.
As I was told, already five years ago, the initiative to close down Yeshiva Har Bracha was raised by the head of the Human Resources Division of the I.D.F., Elazar Shtern and the Chief of Staff, Dan Chalutz, as a result of criticism I wrote in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper concerning the religious situation in the army, and as punishment for my position concerning refusing orders to expel Jews. However, the top brass of the Ministry of Defense decided not to close the Yeshiva at the time. Perhaps then, they understood that in the framework of an open, public debate, anyone is allowed to state his opinion — even if he is a rabbi.
Regretfully, in spite of the fact that the public elected the right-wing parties and the Prime Minister is from the Likud Party – the Labor Party, which was on the brink of destruction, runs the country. There is no drive to settle the land, no expression of faithfulness to the Land of Israel; instead, they close a Yeshiva whose only crime is participating actively in the public debate. The disappointment from the government and all its coalition members is great. They preach the exaltedness of the Land of Israel and freedom of thought, but their actions speak otherwise.
Nevertheless, despite the difficult situation we presently find ourselves in, I do not regret expressing my opinions – I fulfilled my moral obligation.
The Soldier in Jail
One of the soldiers who was sentenced to 28 days in jail for the crime of refusing to transfer to another yeshiva is Netanel Lisha, whose tremendous quick-wittedness saved his fellow soldiers from a lynch in Hevron, as I wrote about three weeks ago.
Amongst all this, we received word that a graduate of Yeshiva Har Bracha, Captain Shay Rozillio, Company Commander in the Paratrooper’s Division, was chosen to receive a Certificate of Excellence on Israel Independence Day at the Presidents Residence. Next year, with God’s help, he is supposed to return to Yeshiva Har Bracha for two years of study, and then continue his military course.
Security Failure in the Army that Expelled Jews
Even before Anat Kam began her army service in the Central Command of the I.D.F., her leftist positions were well-known. In her investigation she claimed that the Israeli army conducted war crimes against the Arabs, and therefore she felt obliged to collect the necessary information so that when the I.D.F. was investigated for these crimes, she would have the evidence to prove it. In spite of this, without any type of inquiry, she received permission to view all the top-secret documents. Even Judge Ze’ev Hammer, in his decision to detain the suspect, said: “I was astounded by the inconceivable failure, as well as the faulty and negligent data security arrangements.”
I’m not so astounded. When the I.D.F. is occupied with expelling settlers, and does not differentiate between enemy and ally, between those who support the I.D.F. and those who oppose it – it loses its focus. The army forgets its goals – to defend the nation from its enemies who want to destroy her. It operates according to commands, and not values and goals. It becomes obsessively concerned with exposing potential refusal of orders to expel Jews, punishing individuals who express support for this position, while ignoring those who denounce its very essence.
In this type of a situation, it is no wonder that the army fails in the most basic matters. Thus, in spite of its tremendous quantitative and qualitative advantage, the I.D.F. failed in the Second Lebanon War. This is also the reason for its less than mediocre results in Operation Cast Lead.
Israel Independence Day
In spite of all the complications and difficulties, thank God we have an independent State, and we can argue about its path. How far we have progressed compared to the situation of our forefathers in the days of exile and disgrace. Therefore, we will thank God by reciting the ‘Hallel’ prayer with a blessing for the great kindness He has done for us in the last generations.
I was speaking to a person who merited immigrating to Israel about fifty years ago in the framework of one of the pioneering movements. He said that he could not believe that within such a relatively short time, he would witness such a disintegration of values, with heads of state being suspected of criminal acts, and forgetting their purpose – to build the nation in its land.
However, we also agreed that fifty years ago, he could never have imagined just how developed the State of Israel would be – in the number of Jews living there, in its strong economy, in the potency of its society, in the building of Torah and educational institutions, in the settling and development of Judea and Samaria, which, in spite of all the difficulties, continues to grow, both in quantity and quality, at double the pace of all other areas in the State of Israel.