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February 7th, 2013
05:17 AM ET

Ultra-Orthodox: Call to God or service?

Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel put religious studies over military duties. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Israel • Judaism • Military

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. jaysonrex

    Religious studies have nothing to do with military duties: one can fulfill all obligations towards the state that insures the protection and survival of its citizens while study the Torah – concomitantly or subsequently. In fact, defending Israel is a sacred duty that all orthodox Jews are very much aware of. So let this ridiculous kerfuffle end as soon as possible, allowing Israelis to return to their affairs without delay because … the enemy is watching.

    April 14, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  2. John

    It is good to study what God said, and how people have interacted with him in the past. But there is also today, and helping others find him now. It is much like Jesus said, if you have light you do not hide it under a basket, but you bring it to others so they can see the light and benefit from knowing God too. It would be best if all of Israel, and the rest of the world, knew more about God, rather than less so they can believe him and love him for who he is: God.

    February 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  3. Brampt

    About participating in the military, history tells us that the first century Christians did not participate of politics or military. It wasn't until the 3rd or 4th century when the true and pure teaching of Christ was lost, when those called "Christians" started participating on politics and military. That counterfeit for if Christianism still exists till this day... The majority of the called "Christian" faiths, still follow the padern that was followed by the religion created by Constantine!

    February 7, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • ME II

      @Brampt,
      "... history tells us that the first century Christians did not participate of politics or military."
      Would that be because they expected Jesus to return within their lifetimes? The disappointed 3rd and 4th century Christians had to deal with their dead-beat dad.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Brampt

      Me- true Christians were never disappointed because they worship God out of love, not because of a date or a reward... The one that got disappointed were worshipping God for bad reasons. But if you don't know, Christ and the apostols actually predicted a temporary lost of true worship. (2 Pet 2:1-4 -1However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among ​YOU. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves.2Furthermore, many will follow their acts of loose conduct, and on account of these the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively.3Also, with covetousness they will exploit ​YOU​ with counterfeit words. But as for them, the judgment from of old is not moving slowly, and the destruction of them is not slumbering.)

      February 7, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Nii

      Christianity has never been pacifist. There were lots of Christian Roman soldiers. There is a first century cartoon to prove this. That is why the Roman Empire fell. The persecution of the Christians destroyed people from all facets of society. the military inclusive.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Brampt

      . Early Christians refused to serve in the Roman army, in both the legions and auxilia, considering such service as wholly incompatible with the teachings of Christianity. Says Justin Martyr, of the second century C.E
      A careful review of all the information available goes to show that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius [121-180 C.E.], no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service.” (The Rise of Christianity,
      The behavior of the Christians was very different from that of the Romans. . . . Since Christ had preached peace, they refused to become soldiers.” (Our World Through the Ages, by N. Platt and M. J. Drummond, 1961, p. 125)

      February 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  4. Brampt

    Matt 23:37: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her,—how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings! But ​YOU​ people did not want it.38Look! YOUR​ house is abandoned to ​YOU.

    February 7, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • niknak

      Quotes from a magic book of spells to prove the existence of the great sky wizard.
      Classic fundie garbage.
      Not ony are your posts garbage, but you are starting to bore us.
      Face it bro, you bought into a big lie.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Brampt

      Niknak- what make u think that u are the one not living a lie yourself??

      February 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • John

      It has always been like this, the ones that do not believe, have no understanding thta God is there. The prophets, apostles, and witnesses recorded some of what happened, and you expect God to prove himself to you, when you don't bother to believe anyone before you that said what he did for them... claiming they are liars, delusional, or mistaken to claim to know he's there. God exists.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
  5. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    The main problem with the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel is their insistence that the rest of the country is doing it wrong. They cite their religious beliefs as an exemption from military service. The real reason they refuse to serve – they may have to take orders from a Woman, or worse – a Reformed Jew! Both would be anathema because they consider women to be less than men, and Reformed Jews to be as bad as Goyim!

    February 7, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Chuckles

      True story

      I got so much sh.it when I was in israel from those fu.cking ultra-orthodox pri.cks trying to strap tefilin on me every other block, the only way to get them to leave me alone was to say I'd already done it that morning. I say send the ultra-orthodox to the front lines, they'll give up their god real fast.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  6. Atheism is Healthy for Everyone - Kids Too!

    Different kinds of fundamentalist Christians now as much as ever are arguing with each other with as much sense and rationality as a flock of chickens. They can't support their beliefs by any reasonable means, yet they deem themselves fit to judge others from those beliefs or attempt to put others in the midst of their religious infighting. Their beliefs have a very weak foundation and are not consistent, ergo the over 30,000 different denominations.

    Thomas Jefferson (POTUS #3, principle author of the Declaration of Independence)

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    John Adams (POTUS #2, Patriot of the American Revolution)

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    James Madison (POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights)

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    Thomas Paine (Patriot of the American Revolution)

    I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    February 7, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  7. Saraswati

    I'm surprised this report focuses on the military service aspect as the major issue here. The much bigger problem for Israel right now is the fact these folks aren't working at all and are instead supported by the state, often for life, at an enormous cost to the economy. Once again religion is used as an excuse for personal behaviors, this time for laziness. It's no different from using religion to cover your hatred or sense of superiority or desire to control your wife (or wives). Religions need to work within the established secular social and scientific rules and understandings – it’s not a free for all.

    February 7, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • John

      In the USA it's untaxed, there, it's supported by the state. Not a lot of difference overall. People in general want to know God, and that's what matters.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  8. Chad

    No one is called to unemployment in the service of God. These young men should get their heads out of the Torah and get a job.

    February 7, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • ME II

      "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mt 19:21)

      ?

      February 7, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Nii

      Sell the possessions you have worked for. Not stop working. Following Jesus means working for God and others rather than yourself. Mother Theresa and others worked for God and others and it didn't mean just folding their arms and burying their heads in Bibles all day long.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • bobk52

      Chad my coffee or tea just tastes so much better after hearing u in the mornings.

      February 8, 2013 at 5:11 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Pray without ceasing in 2013
    Prayer changes things

    February 7, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      February 7, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • John

      The truth is that everyone dies, and God decides how long each of us will live. Prayer can help, but it does not force God to change what has gone on for all history where God has both given the breath of life, and later taken it away. If it was their time to go... so be it.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.