The photo story from Alternative News is followed by a news report from Ynet news. Notes and links on military service and anti-zionism are at the foot.
Alternative Information Center (AIC)
May 15, 2013
Anti-Zionist Israeli activists hung posters in the ultra-orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in West Jerusalem on Tuesday, supporting the community in its struggle against forced enlistment in the Israeli army. The posters further noted that Zionism has appropriated Judaism from Jews throughout the world and that its ruling regime is undemocratic and unrepresentative of those living here.
Israeli anti-Zionist activist speaking with residents of West Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighbourhood (Photo: Israeli activists)
Below is a translation of the poster, together with photos of the action itself.
We, people who live under the regime titled “The State of Israel”, acknowledge that the Zionist project is void of any democratic value.
We acknowledge that the Zionist idea purposely denies equality among all human beings. We acknowledge that among the communities harmed by “The State of Israel” regime is the Haredi (ultra orthodox) community. We acknowledge that a minority group founded the regime and it alone enjoys the power. We acknowledge that this secular minority group has appropriated Judaism from Jews all over the world. We acknowledge that the question of drafting into “The State of Israel’s military”, also referred to as “sharing of the burden”, is being used to suppress a fundamental question – what type of governance befits all people of this land?
We acknowledge that “allowances” given to the Haredi community have covered up throughout the years over a fundamental question – what type of governance befits all the people of this land?
The governance which best befits all the people of this land should be established by all those living in this land and all those who have been forcefully expelled from it.
We acknowledge that again, during these days, the Haredi community is under a blatant, aggressive and irrelevant assault by the representatives of the Zionist-nationalist minority.
We therefore wish to show solidarity and express our support of the Haredi community in relation to the forced recruitment into the army of the State of Israel.
We therefore wish to express our disapproval of the harsh words of hatred towards the Haredi community, attributing to it the behaviour of “parasites” and “leeches”.
As long as the Haredi community resists plans for forced recruitment, as well as for the denial of allowances on the basis of economic relief for the society – we will stand in support with the Haredi community. The path for coexisting in harmony among different communities goes through joint work, and know that we are ready for the task.
“Some in the chariots and some on horses, and we shall recall the Lord our God”
Poster advertising a Haredi demonstration planned for Thursday [17th May] against forced military enlistment. Photo: Israeli activists
Haredim advised to emigrate from Israel
Booklet handed out in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim calls on ultra-Orthodox public to leave country following battles over IDF draft, core curriculum subjects
By Moshe Heller, Ynet news
May 13, 2013
Dozens of copies of a booklet calling on ultra-Orthodox Jews to emigrate from Israel were handed out last week near the main synagogue in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood, on the backdrop of the battle between Israel’s haredi and secular publics over the attempt to draft yeshiva students to the Israel Defense Forces and introduce core subjects into haredi schools’ curriculum.
Although the booklet was written about 15 years ago by Rabbi Moshe Dov Beck of the extreme Eda Haredit faction, it was handed out once again this week in light of the haredi draft issue, which has reached the High Court of Justice.
The 50-page publication cites passages from the Holy Scriptures as proof of the obligation to “escape from under the Zionist regime and not go in to visit there.”
The claim is based on the haredi perception which sees the establishment of the State as a revolt against God and the world’s nations, which citizens will be punished for. Another reason for the grave punishment is that many in the country fail to observe mitzvot.
Beck also blasts what he refers to as the “hypocrisy” of extreme haredi factions, which protest against the State’s authorities which they do not recognize, yet request permission to protest from the police and authorities.
He further writes that contrary to the common assumption, the radical factions do not believe in the possibility of living in peace with the Palestinians.
“When we investigate the spirit of rebellion and the use of weapons against the Palestinians, which is the essence of Zionism, have we heard a voice of protest against it?” he asks.
“And if we do hear a little from some of the protestors, they are the same ones who want to stone them and swallow them alive, and the vast majority of those who don’t participate in the elections – they believe that we must deal with the Palestinians with an iron fist and not surrender to the nations.”
Military service is compulsory for all Israelis 18 and over – except for Arabs and students engaged in studying the Torah (which may take a life-time). In practice, the proportion of Israeli citizens doing military service has fallen to 50% not least becausethe main role of the IDF is policing the occupation which few see as noble, heroic, or good civic practice (for accounts of this practice, see Breaking the Silence. This falling proportion is a factor in the new pressure to force the haredi/Torah students, to do their share of military service.
There are individuals who refused military service as conscientious objectors. Adam Keller gives a brief account of ‘refusers in Refusenik new leading light of the right, women in Feminist military refusers claim their own voice
Anti-Zionist Jews, and political objectors in
I refuse to perpetuate the rule of terror: Israel’s refuseniks
There are a number of Jewish anti-zionist organisations as well as the well-known Neturei Karta. Their common belief is that Judaism is a spiritual religion as well as a set of religious customs and practices, while zionism is a religious state-building project that conflicts with the practices of judaism. Many liberal, refirm and secular Jews are anti-zionist. There are also Orthodoz anti-zionist groups, mostly small and little-known. Some are listed on the Jews Not Zionists website.See also True Torah Jews
The oldest American anti-zionist organisation is the American Council for Judaism, founded 1942.
It says on its website;
We view Judaism as a universal religious faith, rather than an ethnic or nationalist identity. We further recognize the silent and often non-participating majority who define their Judaism in the context of their own perspectives. We remain committed to the ethical, intellectual, and prophetic values of Judaism. We cherish the spiritual ties that link us to our fellow Jews around the world, with whom we share our heritage and history.
The State of Israel has significance for the Jewish experience. As a refuge for many Jews who have suffered persecution and oppression in other places, Israel certainly has meaning for us. However, that relationship is a spiritual, historical, and humanitarian one – it is not a political tie. As American Jews, we share the hope for the security and well being of the State of Israel, living in peace and justice with its neighbors.
We celebrate the rich diversity of opinion within today’s changing Jewish community. No one group or perspective reflects the broad range of positions among American Jews. We embrace the American tradition of open and respectful dialogue.
Our most fervent hopes are for a strong, creative and spiritually renewed American Jewish community, and for freedom and security for Jews everywhere; so that we might fulfill our historic mission of working together with all people to build a world of justice, freedom, and peace.