ToI podcast

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Haredim have to defend Israel, too

ToI’s senior analyst weighs in on the increasingly heavy burden shouldered by secular and religious-Zionist Israel

Deputy Editor Amanda Borschel-Dan is the host of The Times of Israel's Daily Briefing and What Matters Now podcasts and heads up The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology coverage.

Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration into one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.

This year, in what is reportedly a record-high number, some 66,000 young men from the ultra-Orthodox community received a deferral from military service. Of those tens of thousands of military-age men, following Hamas’s murderous October 7 onslaught on Israel and the war it launched, 540 men voluntarily signed up for military service.

On Monday, the High Court of Justice determined that the state has until March 24 to explain why its June 2023 resolution — which instructed the IDF not to draft ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students for nine months — is legal.

The court determined in 1998 that executive action cannot be used as a legal basis for something so far-reaching as military service exemptions for an entire sector of the population. But of course, in June 2023, the government appears to have done just that.

That resolution expires on March 31.

Will Israel’s Haredi society begin to shoulder the national defense burden? And what does the IDF need to do to create the proper conditions for increased religious conscription?

And if the community is not willing to take up arms, what are other alternatives that it could take on to serve the nation?

So this week, as all eyes are on the question of ultra-Orthodox conscription, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now.

What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

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