The Rebbe of Peremyshlyany, Rabbi Meir Rosenboim, appealed to secular leaders to understand why haredim had no place in the army as they were actually defending Israel from a great calamity.
By not studying the Torah and following its precepts, the rabbi said, it was actually the secular Israelis who caused the dangerous security issues and so had a greater duty to serve in the army than the haredim.
The Rebbe of Peremyshlyany is the head of a relatively small community, but his stature in the Hasidic world is high, gaining great respect especially due to the blessings and advice he bestows on visitors.
Among the Rebbe’s visitors are quite a few from the secular world, including former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman .
In a talk with his adherents, reported in the Hamevaser newspaper,Â the rabbi presented the arguments for the haredi draft: “On the face of it, they sound convincing. Since everyone is born in God’s image, why must one group serve and be a pawn to the army’s requirements, and another group sit and study Torah? Where’s the fairness?
“This requires us to understand and hone the reason why Torah students are indeed exempt from service.”
The Rebbe explained, “It’s clear to us that the fact we live in fear of enemies in all our years here in the land of Israel — That’s because of the simple people, those who don’t study Torah, this country is filled with.
“Those who ask why they must enlist and fight must be told that this calamity, these security dangers, is because of them, because of their helplessness and their abstaining from studying Torah.”
The Rebbe continued, “Our right to be quiet and serene is only because of studying the Torah, without which calamity will befall the world.
“The simple people have only themselves to blame, for the calamity, the dangers and the need for an army which they bring upon themselves and upon us.”