PREFACEThe following letter was in response to an article appearing on the front page of Today's New York Times entitled
For the present I will identify him by his initials I.K. He is a 22-year-old Israeli friend who was recently discharged from the IDF, the Israel Defense forces. He will enter Hebrew University late this summer as freshmen. Please note English is not his prime language but rather is a second language for him; he is working hard to improve English writing skills. I would hope to publish more of his writings. In fact I have
told I. K. that I will I will continue to ask him about what he sees, hears, thinks and does and how life is for him especially with regard to what we here in the U.S. hear or read or see in the media or other sources about Israel.
He has promised to respond in kind. Therefore I invite you to send me your comments and any questions you might care to pose and we shall see how much we may all learn. Moreover, I.K. readily welcomes this as an opportunity to work on furthering on his mastering and writing English. So please keep the questions coming.
Letter From I. K. in Israel On 7 ביונ 2013,
Shabbat Shalom Larry!
This time I know that you are able to show my mails to your friends so I will write better.
One of the main statements in the article is "While Haredi culture everywhere prioritizes Torah study, it is only in Israel that so many pursue it full time."
Look, the Haredim in Israel has gone mad. They have crazy habits.
goes on bus from the rear door while men from the front.
2. Did you hear about the stupid, stupid, stupid Haredi who spat on 7 years old Hasidic girl because her parents dressed her up not the way HE THOUGHT IS THE RIGHT WAY? This occasionally repeats itself from time to time.
3. Have a look at some pictures from Hassidic demonstration
Look, to that they just exaggerate with everything, with every single thing. And they allow this to themselves because there is who to protect, serve and feed them.
I have to stop for a moment. Not all of the Hassidic are like this.
And I have to say I didn't know the numbers and the growth in numbers that was written in the article. I don't know or feel them. I just can tell you the general feeling in Israel of this ethnic group.
You and me, let’s say we are above the average in learning skills and our understanding of the world.
But Larry, they are something else. Think of it for a second. They learn ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT!!! "And you will/shall contemplate it day and night."
the torah says.
Think of it. When I try reading reports it is getting hard to me after an hour. Then I go to pee and drink and it goes again and again for what - 4 hours a day? 6? 7?? the maximum. It is hard reading all day. And that is what they do. You know that Hassidic read torah on the bus, the train, everywhere? They won't miss a second.
Think about how they could be helpful to the country - to the world! How many things they might accomplish with the knowledge they can get more easily than me!
And I didn't even touch the part where MY PARENTS ARE PAYING FOR THEY KIDS SCHOOL, FOOD, and everything else.
But on the other hand, they really, really think they are working god. Even in the army. They REALLY BELIVE THEY FOUGHT ON THE LAST WAR LIKE MY FRIENDS DID.
And most of them are not playing bullshit. They really do learn all day. So what can you tell them? "Your faith is unreal"? "Look, truly, the person who use gun helps MORE than the one who holds a book"? This is a debate without an end. So we must accept their belief at some way. But as written in the article, Stanley Fisher said “It’s clear this is a situation which cannot continue”. It is true it cannot continue like this. But we need to find the middle way and both sides will need to settle.
You know, we have a battalion of Hasidics --700 fighters. "HANAHAL HAHARIDI". They serve at the army for 24 month I think instead of 3 years and then go to study. It might be a good way to settle both sides - of course there are more Hasidics places in the army that they can go, I just mentioned one of them.
Look, one of the hardest things in measuring Israel average salaries, in compare of the OECD or something else is the Hassidim and the Arabs who live inside Israel (like the village near Adamit "Arab El A Ramshe" or the Arabs in Jaffa). Many of these groups don’t go to work! And they don’t want to! They live from their children's allowance and live in terrible poverty.
This is a very "IN" topic in Israel because Yair Lapid, our minister of finance has decided he tries to fix this situation and making more and more Hassidic go to the army and go to work. He tries to do it by giving them some rewards, and making it harder to get children allowance - and if you get it, it will be less money.
You know, that when you go to Yeshiva, the rabbi is like your god. You do as he says. If he tells you "you cannot server in the army" then you won't do so. If he tells you "choose this and this in the election" you do as he tells you.
You know, when I served in the army, I met little Hassidic girl who wanted to ask me about the army. She said she just got into girls Hasidic middle school (the name in Israel for such schools is "Ulpana") and that she HAD to sign an agreement that she won't go to the army. She was only 12 years old. 6 years before she needs to decide "THEY" have taken away her decision.
I am sure that if they will start working, and getting salaries, Israel will be much stronger in financial way and that we will have less reviews on our brothers.