Friday, May 26, 2017

Catastrophe Countdown Changes Conceptions - R' Aharon Schechter Calls for Action

Updated 6/14 with video. See Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro (English speaker) from 1:10 to 1:27 and Rav Aharon Schechter (Yiddish) from 2:03 to 2:22.

We've all seen the videos of the Peleg demonstrations and we cringe. And we wonder why they are literally laying their life on the line as if this was a reincarnation of Giyus Bonos.

Well at last there is some information explaining the vehement opposition to the draft "exemptions".

This may explain the coming demonstration set for Sunday, June 11 at Barclays.

Here is the text of the ad from page 8 of the May 25 issue of the Flatbush Jewish Journal


Countdown to Catastrophe 

Witness to the Fallacy of Blindness

It’s obvious to all that Eretz Yisroel is in a perpetually
precarious state of existence: Living in the
shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb in the making,
encircled by heavily armed, sworn enemies, singled
out for scorn by the so-called community of nations.
All of this makes the situation of acheinu b’nei
Yisroel in artzeinu hakedosha unique, and uniquely
dangerous. This mortal threat to our survival is
something of which we’re all painfully aware.
Yet, there’s another crisis unfolding there that
few if any of us are aware of. It presents an immense
existential threat to our nation in general
and to the yishuv in Eretz Yisroel in particular, and
it raises the danger posed by the enemies seeking
our destruction to unthinkable levels.
Simply stated, the danger we speak of is that
the flourishing community of yeshivos and b’nei
yeshiva, that has grown by leaps and bounds
across the length and breadth of Eretz Yisroel will
be decimated – not by 2040, nor even in as long
as a decade from now. Instead, within a handful
of years, the world’s largest and most vibrant
community of lomdei Torah will undergo a drastic
downsizing. The Olam haYeshivos as we know it –
and with it, the frum community of which it is the
beating heart – will cease to look as it does today.
That’s not hyperbole. It is incontrovertible fact.
And it is chilling beyond all words.
The following paragraphs will set forth the
state of affairs in Eretz Yisroel today regarding
the drafting of b’nei yeshiva into the Israeli army,
based on first-hand knowledge, in-depth research
and copious documentation. Little if any of this information
has been known or publicly discussed in
the American Torah community – until now.
Anyone who contests these plainly demonstrable
facts is welcome to step forward and provide
counter-evidence in refutation of what is written
here. We are confident that our rendition of the
terrifying reality will withstand scrutiny.
As the Israeli draft law stands today, the government
is required to set a goal of drafting several
thousand chareidi young men for military service
each year and to engage in various activities
designed to achieve that objective. This includes
the use of well-trained, undercover government
agents from within the chareidi community whose
mission is to persuade the b’nei yeshiva they target
to enter the army.
Currently, all b’nei yeshiva are exempt from
serving, provided they follow the prescribed procedures
and otherwise qualify for exemption. It
should be stated that under the current law, a majority
of b’nei yeshiva have a fairly easy time in securing
their exemptions: They’re able to appear in
groups at conscription offces, spend minimal time
undergoing physical examinations and promptly
receive the necessary exemption papers.
But here’s the untold story: Thousands of b’nei
yeshiva – in particular, those who are vulnerable either
because they learn in smaller or lesser-known
yeshivos, or due to having certain backgrounds,
such as Sefardic b’nei yeshiva from weaker chareidi
backgrounds and ba’alei teshuvah – are being
targeted by the army and other governmental departments
for intensive recruitment efforts. Many
of these b’nei yeshiva have been imprisoned for
failure to comply with every last detail of the bureaucratic
exemption process, despite good faith
efforts to do so. Many others remain free but live
in constant fear of being apprehended and jailed.
Large numbers of these b’nei Torah, however,
are neither in military prison nor on the run.
Unbelievable as it may seem, they are now serving
in the Israeli army. Despite being full-fledged
b’nei yeshiva, they have been wrenched from the
bais medrash and forcibly inducted into the IDF
for failing to meet the legal requirements for exemption.
Their conscription enables the army to
fill the yearly quotas of thousands of chareidim
demanded by Israeli draft law.
The basis for the drafting of many of these bnei
yeshiva is that they fail to meet the technical requirements
of a “ben yeshiva” as defined by law.
For example:
A bochur cannot qualify for exemption as a ben
yeshiva unless he learns in a yeshiva gedolah that
has at least twenty-five talmidim who qualify as
b’nei yeshiva, i.e., who are at least eighteen years
A bochur who has earned any taxable money
from employment, even if only during bein
haz’manim or bein hasedarim, cannot qualify for
exemption as a ben yeshiva. Thus, for example, a
bochur who earned a meager salary during Yom
Tov break to help with his impoverished family’s
expenses will be forced into army service.
Only talmidim of offcially recognized yeshivos
qualify for exemption; no new recognitions,
however, have been issued in over a year, and the
talmidim of such institutions are thus not exempt.
Under new rules about to be instituted, 1) a bochur
in his last year in a yeshiva k’tanah (the equivalent
of an American mesivta) who will be one of
the first in his class to reach the conscription age
of eighteen, will not be eligible for exemption because
his yeshiva k’tanah doesn’t have the minimum
number of b’nei yeshiva, as described in a)
above; and 2) bochurim learning in yeshivos that
do not accept Israeli government funding will not
qualify for exemption from the draft.
The army is in the process of setting up a sophisticated
inspection system under which, in an
unprecedented breach of the religious autonomy
of the yeshivos, it will begin to directly intervene in
those institutions to enforce the draft law.
Appeals to individuals and organizations to
use their political clout to help the large numbers
of bnei Torah who are in desperate straits, in the
army, in prison or cowering in hiding from the authorities,
have been in many cases unsuccessful.
Everything that has been described until this
point reflects the deeply disturbing current state
of affairs. The Israeli military refers to it as a “tekufat
histaglut,” a very temporary “adjustment
period,” in order to enable the frum community
to adapt to the coming, far more ominous reality.
In 2020, the next stage of the draft law will come
into effect, under which what were previously
non-mandatory yearly recruitment goals will become
mandatory yearly quotas of chareidi young
men required to enter the army, and the quota
levels will rise as well.
Then, in 2023, the law providing exemptions to
b’nei yeshiva comes to a complete end. The only
b’nei yeshiva who will continue to be free of army
service will be those over the age of twenty-four,
who are entitled to a permanent exemption.
However, the large numbers of b’nei yeshiva who
reach conscription age each year, numbering approximately
seven thousand annually, will be forcibly
drafted. It boggles the mind to envision the
mass conscription of b’nei Torah in Eretz Yisroel,
but that is the looming reality.
Let us speak plainly: The world is looking on
mutely as the evil Iranians, hell-bent on destroying
the Jews, proceed with building the Bomb;
by all accounts, they are perhaps a decade away
from achieving that diabolical goal. But long
before that point – indeed, in a short six years
from now, if the current situation continues – the
peerlessly glorious world of yeshivos overflowing
with young and old, with talmidei chachomim
delving continuously into the depths and breadth
of Torah, will simply no longer exist in the form
it does today. And with it, the single greatest
source of protection from that Bomb and all
the other threats we face – the intense, nonstop
limud haTorah of thousands -- will be severely
In the foregoing paragraphs, you’ve been introduced
to events and facts of which you were
probably unaware; of which, strangely, no one
speaks; and about which, our numerous media
outlets are inexplicably silent. You, too, have a
choice: You can turn the page, and turn your attention
to other matters.
Or not.

אהרן משה שכטר

בשם חברים


Please keep comments civil and free from LH, otherwise they will be deleted.


  1. I want to hear the other sideMay 26, 2017 at 6:05 PM

    Is someone trying to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge? Does anyone think that R. Schechter himself wrote that?

    Does he know better than R. Steinman, R. Kanievsky, etc., who live in Eretz Yisrael? I know that avira deBrooklyn machkim (belashon sagi nahor), but avira diEretz Yisrael is superior.

    I prefer to follow the majority of gedolei Eretz Yisrael, rather than someone 6,000 miles away.

  2. What the above ominous piece seems to be missing, is some perspective.

    There have been tussles and conflicts in the past related to conscription as well. Such things are nothing new. But the doomsday scenarios of the prophets of doom and gloom, NK, Edah Haredis, Satmar and their camp, and their allies (or dupes?) in the USA, of 'the end of the Torah world' (ch"v) in Eretz Yisroel, did not come to pass, over close to seventy years of Medinas Yisroel. Commissions can be set up, plans can be made, but that doesn't mean they will come to fruition. עצו עצה ותופר וכו.

    If there are elections and a PM needs the votes of Yahadus haTorah, that can be the vehicle, BS"D, for gezeiros to become boteil in coalition negotiations. Of course, if the extreme anti-zionists don't vote, it makes it harder, frummeh Yidden have less leverage. But B"H, most frum people follow the gedolei hador in Eretz Yisroel and vote, and discard the sensational alarmism from places like Kiryas Joel and even Coney Island Avenue.

  3. The question is why the mainstream press is avoiding this discussion like the plague. Anybody know why?

  4. How intermarriage harms Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel:

    How Shabbat-desecration harms Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem:

  5. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman is setting up new rules to make it harder for bochurim to get IDF exemption. Among other things, a bochur who leaves a yeshiva must find a new one within fourteen days; a bochur in a yeshiva high school or Hesder yeshiva may not move to a chareidi yeshiva; and if twenty percent of the bochurim in a yeshiva fail to appear at an induction center to receive exemption from the IDF the entire yeshiva will be disqualified and deemed unable to provide exemptions.

    Director of the Authority for Civic Service Sar Shalom Jerbi said chareidim failed to meet the target of chareidi recruits for Civic Service for two consecutive years. Only 731 joined in the 2016 draft year, far short of the 1,800 target, and so far, only 457 chareidim have signed up for the draft of this year, making it unlikely that the year’s target of 2,000 recruits will be reached.

    Jerbi said that chareidi opposition prevented the launching of a large recruitment campaign and that the stipend offered to recruits was not enough.

    { Israel News}

  6. Gedolei Eretz Yisroel respond forcefully to false rumors and distortions in AmericaJune 5, 2017 at 10:43 AM


    Gedolei Eretz Yisroel know what they are doing, they are on the scene, and on top of things, they don't need advice from 'experts' in NY and NJ who think they know better from 6000 miles away.

    1. link doesn't work. please reply with the gist of what they said.

    2. Link does work.

      Check it out.

  7. If it is not clickable here, for some reason, that doesn't mean the information is wrong. Just copy and paste the url (web address) into your browser, go there, and you will see the report.

  8. Get a perspective from someone who knowsJune 11, 2017 at 8:56 PM

    MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni responds to NY Satmar led protest: To cry in chutz laaretz is like the meraglim. There was no period as good in the state as now.

  9. In the final analysis, were any of the Litvisher Gedolim there or was it purely Satmar? I didn't see any signs in Flatbush in any of the yeshivot to attend.

    1. Rav Schechter was there but as far as I know, he came without his yeshiva.

    2. R. A.M. Schechter came late, spoke, and left. He was introduced as 'zekan roshei yeshiva d'America' (but is that actually so?). He was not there for too long. There was another, younger, Litvishe RY from Bk there as well, but he didn't speak.

      I didn't even notice R. E.B. Wachtfogel there, surprisingly.

      Satmar imported an older Litvak from Argentina, R. Levin(e) of Mosdos Chofetz Chaim there, to speak, after they had trouble getting local Litvaks to attend.

  10. Food for thoughtJune 14, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    If Rabbi Aaron M. Schechter, RY MYRCB, was so on board and in accord with the Satmar faction of the gathering, why didn't he bring his Yeshiva along with him? Where were his talmidim/followers?

    It seems that even Rabbi Schechter may have realized that he and that Satmar faction are not exactly on the same page.

    Note also that he arrived late, and did not stay long at the event beyond his address.

    We need to read between the lines sometimes.

    1. This obviously was a difficult decision. OTOH, you have a situation in EY that calls for protest, OTOH, RAS does not see eye to eye with Satmar on the state of the "state". So perhaps the decision was to come, speak out then leave, and not be mevatel his talmidim from seder. Another speculation is that he is advanced in years and may not have been up to sitting there for several hours, or perhaps he had other meeting obligations.


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