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"Torah-Hating" Secular Jew Fights For Torah Study
Ayelet Shaked is a secular Israeli. She is a partner with Naftali Bennet in Bayit Yehudi. She heads a committee to equalize the burden of military service in Israel, i.e. to bring charedi yeshivah students into the IDF. As far as spokesmen and leaders in the charedi world are concerned, such as the editor of Mishpachah magazine and various charedi Rabbanim (including some purportedly moderate charedi rabbanim in my own neighborhood), all this must mean that she is a Hater of Torah.
Yet this week, Ayelet Shaked fought for certain yeshivah students to be able to continue their studies for an additional two years. According to an article in Arutz Sheva:
After two days of voting and debate in the Shaked Committee, chairwoman MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) has successfully passed a law that will allow students in Zionist yeshivas to continue their studies until age 23.
The committee, which is tasked with creating a law on army service for hareidi men, had decided that hareidi men should be allowed to study in yeshiva prior to enlisting in the military, but should be required to enlist by age 21.
Many committee members initially said the age-21 cut-off should apply universally, meaning that long-term students in Zionist yeshivas would be required to enlist at the same age. Shaked and others fought that approach....
The committee ultimately voted to accept an alternate proposal according to which students at Zionist yeshivas will be allowed to delay enlistment until age 23. A select group of 300 students will be allowed to postpone enlistment until age 26.
The vote indicated a significant change in the committee’s position, and marks the first time that authorities have officially recognized the importance of Torah study.
Why would a secular, allegedly Torah-hating Jew fight for yeshivah students to defer their enlistment for even longer? The article explains the position of Shaked and her supporters:
Nearly all students in Zionist yeshivas do eventually enlist, they said, and students at pro-enlistment schools should not be punished for low enlistment rates at other yeshivas.
The students in question are learning about the importance of enlistment in yeshiva, and therefore do not need the threat of sanctions to motivate them, they argued...
Shaked expressed satisfaction following the vote to accept her proposal. “Religious Zionists contribute more to the country than any other sector of society,” declared Shaked, who is secular. “It is good that Members of Knesset realized that, and allowed students to continue their important Torah study – knowing that the study leads them to contribute to society, both through their learning itself, and through their army service and many years of reserves service.”
So there you have it. Ayelet Shaked is most certainly not a "hater of Torah." She values Torah immensely - when it is a Torah that is connected to Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. Even in the Yesh Atid party, MK Ofer Shelah said that he has great respect for Zionist yeshiva students because 80 to 85 percent of them serve in combat units.
Bayit Yehudi and even Yesh Atid are not "haters of Torah." Almost nobody in Israel is a hater of Torah. People are haters of selfishness, of ingratitude, of a system in which one sector is financially subsidized by the rest of the country while refusing to share the difficult burden of army service and simultaneously being ungrateful to the extreme. Yet such a system is in any case the antithesis of traditional Torah values and directives. A Torah of love, of being a part of Am Yisrael, of making sacrifices for other people, of valuing the contributions made by others - the way Torah is supposed to be - that's a Torah that everyone loves and respects.
(Thanks to reader Yonah Saunders for forwarding this news to me.)