Rabbi Warns Haredi Boys Not to Dress Up as Israeli Soldiers for Purim

Head of haredi group cites tensions over the drafting of yeshiva students.

Rabbi Mordechai Blau, head of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Guardians of Sanctity and Education group, implored parents to prevent their children from dressing up like IDF soldiers, Israel Hayom reported on Wednesday.

“We are at a time of evil decrees, and dressing up as a soldier in this period does not increase happiness, rather it increases sadness,” Blau said. “There are children for whom soldiers are likely to take on a frightening meaning, like taking their older brother away [to the army.]"

The rabbi suggested that boys dress up in U.S. army costumes instead.

Israel Defense Forces costumes are popular among young Orthodox boys at Purim time.

Last week, ultra-Orthodox demonstrators throughout Israel protested against millions of dollars in cuts to yeshiva funding ordered by the Finance Minister Yair Lapid in response to a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court over the haredi Orthodox yeshiva students’ draft deferrals.

A government committee headed by lawmaker Ayelet Shaked of the Habayit Hayehudi Party is working to finish revising a universal draft law that already has passed its first reading in the Knesset. The final bill is expected to be brought for its second and third reading in mid-March.

The leaders of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta have in previous years urged their followers not to dress up as soldiers, policemen or rescue workers on Purim.