Secular Yeshivas Seek to Join IDF's Hesder Program

Yeshiva rejected in the past because it does not operate in the 'spirit of the Jewish tradition.'

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Several secular yeshivas are seeking to be included in the Hesder arrangement that allows the possibility of combining religious studies with service in the Israel Defense Forces, under the new terms of the Tal Law, once it is replaced in August.

The founders of the Bina Secular Yeshiva, in Tel Aviv, sought recognition as a Hesder yeshiva under the Tal Law when they established their institution in 2006. But when they approached the Association of Hesder Yeshivas to obtain approval as a member, they were turned down because they were told they do not operate in the "spirit of Jewish tradition."

Membership in the association not only enables an institution to be recognized as a Hesder yeshiva and permits the deferment of its students' military service, but it also provides the yeshiva with government financial support.

Currently, the list of those yeshivas legally recognized under the Tal Law is determined by the defense minister, based on recommendations of the Association of Hesder Yeshivas or the Yeshiva Committee.

The Tal Law, as it stands now, defines the Hesder program as an integrated yeshiva that includes: one year of yeshiva study, followed by 18 months of military service, followed by another year of study, and then another 18 months of military service.

In contrast to that definition, many current Hesder programs have shorter military service and its students serve in separate units.

Eran Baruch, executive director of the Bina secular yeshiva, with students. Credit: Daniel Tchetchik



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