Chabad and Israeli Military Service

The following is from Israel National News. You would think that MK Stern is a tad naive. No Chabadnik would remotely consider themselves an emissary of anyone other than the Rebbe Ramash נ’’ע, in keeping with attempts to bring Geulah quicker.

That being said, he is suggesting that influencing Jewry to become more observant (albeit through the particular prism of the Chabad approach) is a formal State service. That, in of itself, is a significant development.

Wouldn’t it be deliciously ironic if someone who wasn’t going to go on Shlichus, now did so because they would (also) be serving the State’s needs in a different way to enlisting in the physical army?

Israel should recognize young adults who volunteer with the Chabad hassidic movement as having done national service, MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua) has proposed.

Stern’s proposal was accepted by the Committee for the Equal Burden of Service (Shaked Committee), the Knesset committee weighing Israel’s options regarding hareidi-religious military service.

Stern suggested that under certain circumstances, yeshiva students who volunteer with Jewish communities overseas should be recognized as having done national civilian service, an alternative to military service. Among those who would benefit under the criteria he proposed are Chabad youth, many of whom spend time overseas working with Chabad emissaries.

“There is an organization that is active around the world, on a purely voluntary basis, that does not get recognition from the state of Israel,” Stern said. “The Chabad movement sends people to every corner of the earth.”

Roughly 250-300 Israelis are volunteering with Chabad at any given moment, he said. Chabad emissaries engage in outreach and support to local people in places as diverse as Eastern Europe, Africa and the Far-East, and are often a welcome site for Jewish backpackers and tourists as well, providing them with kosher food and other services.

“There are many elements to the Chabad emissaries’ activity with clear parallels to civilian national service,” he said of Chabad’s social activism. “They do important work in Jewish communities around the world and we need to recognize their important work.”

“I want the Chabad emissaries out there to know they are emissaries of the state,” Stern declared.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

6 thoughts on “Chabad and Israeli Military Service”

  1. As it turned out the decision was taken with the agreement of chabbad, see here:

    אזהרה לשלוחים: “מנסים לסכל את המהלך הרגיש”

    הוועדה לשוויון בנטל אישרה כי שלוחי חב”ד ברחבי העולם ייחשבו כמשרתים בשירות לאומי – אזרחי, מיד לאחר אישור המהלך הוזהרו שלוחי חב”ד שלא לדבר בתקשורת על המהלך הרגיש מפני שיש כבר מי שמנסים לסכלו. גורם בחב”ד: “יש מי שרואה בעין רעה את העובדה ששלוחי מצווה יוכרו על-ידי המדינה” (חדשות)

    and I don’t think that Stern is so naiv see:

    נוסח לדיון – סעיפים 1-4

    “על אף האמור בסעיף קטן (ג)[שירות לאומי-אזרחי יבוצע בישראל או באזור], שירות אזרחי לתלמידי ישיבות בתחום שירות עזרה וסיוע לישראלים מחוץ לגבולות מדינת ישראל, יבוצע מחוץ לישראל או האזור, ובלבד שהשירות יינתן במסגרת ארגון אשר לו נציגויות בחמש יבשות, ופעילותו מסייעת להסברה הישראלית בעולם או מסייעת למעוניינים לעלות לישראל או למי שחלק מבני משפחתם עלו לארץ ישראל; מספר המשרתים בשירות האזרחי שהרשות תפנה לשירות בתחום זה בכל שנה לא יעלה על 100”

    as Chabad has branches in five continents they are covered by this amendment.

    I don’t know if this an amendment designed for Chabad or by chabad.

    What is in it for stern? Is he trying to split the Charedi objection to Sheirut Lemi for Yeshiva Bachurim?


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