Kiryas Joel, NY - Satmar Rebbe: Military Service Forbidden But Jerusalem Protests Create Unacceptable Chaos
Kiryas Joel, NY - The Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum, spoke out today in Kiryas Joel against several ongoing controversies swirling around the Charedi draft, including Charedim serving in the army and near-daily protests that continue to shut down the streets of Jerusalem frequently.
The Satmar Rebbe’s words came Monday morning after Shacharis and he noted that while Satmar forbids military service, it has never been the Satmar way for Chasidim to simply not register for the army. Instead, for decades Charedim have followed an established protocol that had them exempted from the army when they came to register.
“This was done during the time of the Divrei Yoel,” said Rabbi Teitelbaum, referring to Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, known to be a fierce critic of Israel and its military. “Despite the Divrei Yoel’s opposition to the State of Israel, his talmidim always went to register for the army. Reb Yoel never saw this as an act of zealotry or as expressing his approval of Zionism.”
Listen below to the full speech
The Rabbi noted that, the practice still continues today, and there is an organization that works closely with Charedim to help them receive their military exemption once they register for the army.
But a new group that has broken with that long standing tradition and are instead encouraging Charedim to shut down city streets with regular protests. the Rabbi said.
“These people are not zealots,” said Rabbi Teitelbaum. “They are newcomers who have no understanding of how to fight against the Zionists. We have waged war against the Zionists for more than 60 years but have never seen this kind of lawlessness and chaos. The citizens of Jerusalem are living terribly difficult lives because of these people, and there is no one taking responsibility and authorizing this type of disruptive behavior.”
Demonstrators have continued to wreak havoc in Jerusalem in recent weeks, with protesters attempting to disrupt the Jerusalem marathon, a large event that drew 25,000 runners and thousands of spectators. Police also clashed with Charedim who hung IDF soldiers in effigy on Purim as previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2noHO4o).
“People need to go to learn and to work, and entire roadways are impassable because of the protests,” said Rabbi Teitelbaum. “A woman who is giving birth cannot get to the hospital. These actions are irresponsible and cause every resident of Jerusalem to suffer. There is no excuse for this type of behavior.”
Problems that affect the Charedi community are not unique to Israel, explained the Satmar Rebbe, noting that the recent issues that have arisen in regard to metzitzah b’peh have created enormous tension in New York.
“Yet it has never occurred to anyone to shut down the streets of Williamsburg in protest,” said Rabbi Teitelbaum. “It would be easy to create chaos by shutting down the streets in New York City but no one would ever do it, yet in Jerusalem they do. Who is allowing this? It is unacceptable.”
The Satmar Rebbe also noted that he is very troubled by a recent increase in Charedi enrollment in the army. He reiterated Satmar’s long standing opposition to military service and called on Charedi rabbonim to speak out strongly against joining the IDF.
Faced with these issues, Rabbi Teitelbaum called for Monday to be a day of prayer and urged his followers to pray for the draft to be annulled and for the violence and disruption to end, but made it clear that he in no way supported those who have been promoting disruptive protests.
“Our prayers today should not in any way be considered as an approval of the actions of these misguided zealots and their divisive riots,” said Rabbi Teitelbau. “Violence is not our way.”
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