The High Court Doesn’t Want Us to Be Chareidim

Were it dependent on a majority of Israeli High Court judges, they would seemingly prefer that there not be a chareidi sector in Israel at all. The judges are ready to accept all Jews as citizens — as long as we are not chareidim, as long as we do not uphold the traditions of our forebears the way we understand them, the way they have been transmitted to us with mesirus nefesh throughout the generations. If you want to live in Israel, the High Court conveys to us over and over again through its rulings, please change; if not willingly, then by coercion. Stop being what you are.

There is, perhaps, an explanation for this. Several High Court justices classify themselves as religious; they are a minority, but they exist. Some of them may even have sided with the High Court decision regarding the legality of granting yeshivah students exemptions for the draft. In their opinion, they are the ultimate shomrei mitvzos: They daven each day, they even learn from time to time, and they have served in the army. “You are not more religious than we are,” they say privately, and even openly. It does not enter their minds that we don’t want to be like them or to look like them.

It does not enter their minds that a chareidi mother who davens for her child prays and pleads that he not grow up to be like these judges, but rather like her own parents and grandparents, and that he should navigate his path in life by the light of our Rebbes and Rabbanim. She does not want her son to, chalilah, be a judge that will judge according to laws that are not Torah laws; she does not want him to sit on a mixed panel; she does not want him to permit things the Torah forbids, as the High Court justices and other judges allow. She does not tell the judges how to act, but she prays that her children will not act like them.

We want to remain what we are, with a lifestyle that sets clear boundaries and guidelines. We want to watch over our sons and daughters and protect them from all we perceive to be negative influences, as our Gedolim and forebears have taught us from generation to generation. These aspirations do not go hand-in-hand with the various attempts at coercion that they are trying to impose upon us, such as the law drafting those learning Torah; that same law that defines those who sit and learn Torah in the State of Israel as “criminal” to the point of tossing them in jail and which the High Court judges want to implement, despite an absolutely legitimate Knesset decision.

When they are involved in suppressing us, in an effort to uproot what we are, they change the rules of the game of democracy and find that legislation passed by a majority of the Knesset is illegal.

It does not enter our minds that anyone will, chalilah, succeed in preventing our youngsters who want to learn from doing so. It does not enter our minds, not because we are not afraid, but because we have been promised by Hashem, Who gave us the Torah, that “kol kli yotzer alecha lo yitzlach — any tool that is created against you will not succeed.”

With Hashem’s help, they will not succeed — but when it hurts, we cry out. And when there is a chillul Shem Shamayim in public, we cry bitterly. And this is not being said in defiance, but rather with tremendous pain over the fact that “a small minority of Am Yisrael have reached this low level, a situation that did not exist in previous generations, that Jews persecute Jews in the Holy Land for their desire to learn Torah and to dedicate themselves to their Torah learning,” as the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah stated at the time, when the last government enacted the coercive law against those learning Torah.

It has been clarified more than once that the chareidi sector does not have an interest in battles. We have no interest in conflict. We believe, in the most sincere way, that Torah learning in purity and holiness is the merit underpinning the existence of Jews in our Land. We believe with all our hearts that this is what has supported Am Yisrael throughout its exiles to this point, and that is what protects and preserves Klal Yisrael. We believe with every bit of honesty and sincerity that there is no other existence and no other life is possible.

May Hashem help us!