Yair Lapid has made his opposition to the exemption of chareidim in army service a cornerstone of his political ideology. I think that he is very wrong.
The truth is that I do think that the chareidim and the extreme Leftists who have been finding lots of loopholes to to get out of IDF service should serve. But there’s one thing for sure. Yair Lapid’s hateful and spiteful tirades against the exemption for chareidim will only make them oppose army service more. And all those religious people who support him, like Dov Lipman, should take Lapid’s rabid anti-chareidi statements more seriously. Lapid doesn’t have the personality characteristics to make him a national leader of the State of Israel.
Chareidim aren’t a small marginal part of the Israeli demographics, the way they were seventy years ago as the modern State of Israel came into being. A very large portion of the First Graders each year are in various chareidi educational frameworks, and the percentage shows no real sign of shrinking. One of the big problems in chareidi society and families is the vast difference in educational curriculum between the girls and the boys. The girls generally study enough English and math to pass the Bagrut, Matriculation exams, study a profession and support their families. The boys have an extremely limited curriculum, which sometimes even ignores Hebrew as a spoken language, besides not teaching English and Mathematics. This not only limits professional opportunities, but it can make for difficult homelife.
Lapid’s We’re done being suckers statements only makes army service into an unbearable burden for fools/”suckers,” rather than an opportunity to serve one’s country, mature, make lifelong friends and even learn a profession or complete a Bagrut Diploma.
I have no doubt that by being amenable, understanding and sympathetic, plus offering an extensive “end of service educational package,” more and more chareidim will decide that it is to their advantage to serve in the IDF. To make it more chareidi-suitable, the teachers should be male, preferably religious/chareidi, and some (eventually all) will be graduates of the program who undergo professional teacher training with the option of a recognized teaching license. The added bonus will be a new cadre of chareidi men qualified to teach academic subjects in all frameworks. That’s the educational revolution that must happen here in Israel, the sooner the better.