On The War Front

April 4, 2024

Torah Under Threat: IDF Begins Drafting Chareidim

Conscription orders were sent to thousands of yeshivah bachurim on Tuesday morning following attorney general Gali Baharav-Miara’s order to the security system to begin drafting chareidim.

The first draft orders were sent to talmidim who received a deferral in the past that is now expired due to the supreme court’s decision.

Approximately 62,000 chareidi bachurim could potentially be drafted following the ruling.

Ynet reported on Sunday that the IDF will try to drag out the process of recruiting chareidim in order to allow them time to prepare proper frameworks.

Sources familiar with the issue estimate that the IDF will not rush to enforce conscription orders or take draconian measures in the coming weeks in the hope that the issue will be resolved by the political echelon.

As of Monday evening, the transfer of funds for yeshivah bachurim and avreichim who are required to enlist was halted. About 56,000 talmidim out of 130,000 fall into that category.

Administrators of yeshivos told B’Chadrei Charedim: “We won’t be broken by the budget freeze. We’re preparing to embark on a significant fundraising campaign. The olam haTorah will withstand this.”

It was reported on Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised the leaders of the chareidi parties that he will present a conscription law acceptable to the attorney general within 30 days. He also promised to approve the legislation at the start of the next Knesset session even if defense minister Yoav Gallant opposes it.

Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, rosh yeshivas Slabodka, spoke about the decision of the high court to freeze the funds of some yeshivos.

“There are two types of people among those trying to be mevatel our limud Torah,” he said. “Some don’t necessarily hate us or religion, but they don’t believe and understand that the Torah is what saves them, that the fact that we’re still here in Eretz Yisrael surrounded by enemies is only because there’s Torah in Eretz Yisrael. Only! And if they’re mevater on Torah, they’re cutting down the trunk that the country stands on. They don’t believe this, Rachmana l’tzlan.

“And there are other people who are mamash resha’im—they hate us, they hate religion, they hate Torah, they hate bnei Torah. They want to destroy us, and we’ll have to stand against them. There will be mesirus nefesh. I hope we won’t reach that, but it’s very possible that we’ll have be moser nefesh to stand against them. But now is not the time for details.”

It’s not just chareidim who are incensed by the new draft orders. Rabbi Dovid Fendel, the rosh yeshivah of the Hesder yeshivah of Sderot, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the attorney general’s order to the government to begin drafting chareidim, sharply criticizing the move.

“As bnei Torah, we are full of love and affection and kavod to the wonderful olam haTorah, and we protest the ugly political move of the attorney general—whose interest is not drafting the chareidim but toppling the government,” Rabbi Fendel said. “At this time, we want to show our solidarity with the bnei Torah.

Chareidim who wanted to be enlisted were turned away, and I know this from several sources. Even the defense minister has no interest in drafting chareidim.”


Top Iranian Commander Eliminated

Mohammed Reza Zahedi, the top commander in the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) for Lebanon and Syria was assassinated in a Monday airstrike on a building adjacent to the Iranian consulate in Damascus—which was used as a military command center for the IRGC.

Zahedi is the highest-ranking Iranian killed since the current war started, even higher than Sayyed Reza Mousavi, killed in December.

Besides his wide-ranging responsibilities for terror on Israel’s borders, Zahedi was the highest-level interlocutor for Tehran with Hezbollah. Zahedi commanded the Quds Force’s Unit 18000, responsible, among other things, for smuggling ammunition and precision weapons into Lebanon. He had also commanded the IRGC’s Air Force and Imam Hussein Division in the past.

The Iranian Embassy in Syria said in a statement that “F-35 planes fired six missiles” during the strike.

Iran and Hezbollah vowed Tuesday to respond to the strike. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council met late Monday and decided on a “required” response to the strike, according to an Iranian report. The meeting was chaired by Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi. In an online statement, Raisi blamed Israel for the attack, saying the “cowardly crime will not go unanswered.”

IDF Ends Shifa Operation

The IDF withdrew early Monday from the Shifa Hospital complex after a two-week raid in which the military said it detained and killed hundreds of terror suspects. During the raid, which began March 18, the IDF said troops captured some 900 suspects, of whom more than 500 were confirmed to be terror operatives and killed more than 200 gunmen. Among those killed and detained were top commanders in Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The IDF has categorized the raid as one of its most successful operations in the entire war, due to the number of terrorists who surrendered, the number of terrorists killed in the hospital complex, and the intelligence gleaned from those being questioned.

Senior terrorists captured at Shifa include Bakr Ahmed Bakr Qanita, head of department in Hamas’s Security and Protection Unit; Radwan Younes Kamal Tafesh, head of department in the Weapon Manufacturing Unit of Islamic Jihad; and Hashem Muhammad Hasan Albatash, responsible for the financial affairs of Islamic Jihad’s Gaza City Brigade.

During questioning by the IDF Intelligence Corps’ Unit 504, captured terrorists said they returned to Shifa because they felt they’d be secure there, and because there is electricity, running water, and available food.

Aid Workers Mistakenly Killed

Seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen, a charity led by a world-famous chef, were killed in a strike on their vehicles in central Gaza late Monday after they helped deliver food and other supplies to northern Gaza that had arrived hours earlier by ship.

According to initial reports, two branded armored cars were hit as they were leaving a warehouse in Deir Balah in central Gaza, where the team had unloaded humanitarian aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route from Cyprus.

The IDF acknowledged its mistake, saying it was “carrying out an in-depth examination at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.”

The army added that it was “making great efforts to enable safe delivery of humanitarian aid and has worked closely with the World Central Kitchen in its efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to Gaza residents.”

Haniyeh’s Sister Arrested

A sister of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has been arrested on suspicion of contact with operatives from the terror group and supporting acts of terror.

Israel Police said in a statement that it had arrested a 57-year-old woman who is “a relative of a senior member of Hamas” in a joint raid with the Shin Bet that was dubbed “Early Dawn.” The statement did not identify the suspect, saying only she was a resident of the southern town of Tel Sheva, where the raid took place.

Police said that during a raid on the suspect’s home, officers found documents, media, telephones, and other evidence linking her to “serious security offenses.” Among the evidence reportedly uncovered was material that showed support for the October 7 massacre and encouraged terror operatives in the Gaza Strip to continue their activities.

Haniyeh lives in exile in Doha, Qatar. His three sisters live in Tel Sheva and were married to Arab Israelis. Two are now widowed and have previously made illegal trips into Gaza in 2013 via Egypt. They were both given eight-month suspended sentences for the visits. In 2015, Israel denied Haniyeh’s request that his sisters be permitted to attend his son’s wedding in Gaza.

The three sisters all have Israeli citizenship and according to a 2006 report, some of their children have served in the IDF.

Israel Proposes New Ceasefire Deal

A delegation of Mossad, Shin Bet, and IDF officials who went to Cairo for hostage release and ceasefire negotiations returned to Israel on Tuesday afternoon, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

As part of the talks, the mediators formulated a new proposal to present to Hamas.

“Israel expects the mediators to work harder with Hamas to promote negotiations in favor of a deal,” Netanyahu’s office said. “The State of Israel continues to make all the necessary efforts to release the abductees from the hands of Hamas and return them to Israel.”

It added that Israel expects the mediators to push Hamas harder to reach a deal.

Hamas has repeatedly rejected ceasefire proposals, saying that it will not agree to any deal that does not include the complete withdrawal of the IDF from Gaza—a demand that Netanyahu has called “delusional.”