Sephardi chief rabbi: Success of air defense is due to yeshivas, not the IDF

2 mins read

The Jerusalem Post | by Tzvi Joffre | April 28, 2024

Source: Sephardi chief rabbi: Air defense success is due to yeshivas, not IDF – Israel News – The Jerusalem Post (

The Sephardi chief rabbi complained about hesder yeshiva leaders who had criticized his comments about the IDF. Summary:

  • Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak attributes Israel’s protection against missile attacks to the merit of yeshiva students.
  • The rabbi emphasizes that the IDF’s success is due to the Torah study of yeshiva students, not military efforts alone.
  • Despite criticism, Rabbi Yosef stands by his statements and criticizes the media and draft of Haredim.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak stated that Israel’s success in defending against the missiles and rockets fired by Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas is thanks to the yeshiva students, not the IDF, during a class on Saturday night.

“It was really a miracle,” said the chief rabbi. “During the past few months, it was said to me that they threw 13,000 missiles on us from the north and the south. A very large amount. Thousands of missiles were thrown at us. There should have been, God forbid, hundreds or thousands of casualties, but thank God, while there were a few people injured – every Jewish soul is dear to us – but relative to what could have been, 13,000 missiles were thrown at our state, thank God what miracles and wonders were done for us.”

“Gentlemen, in whose merit is this? The chief of staff’s merit? In who’s merit? It’s in the merit of the yeshiva students, that the yeshiva students sit and busy themselves with Torah, in their merit the Holy One Blessed Be He did miracles and wonders for us,” said Yosef.

“This is the correct outlook. When I said this a few weeks ago, there were some heads of hesder yeshivas who attacked us in the media, without shame. They spoke with the secular media. Such chutzpah (insolence). Some of the hesder yeshiva heads sent me letters, asking me to retract what I said. I told them there’s no way I’m going to retract what I said,” said the rabbi, repeating his insistence that the success of the army is solely due to yeshiva students.

 Protesters march toward Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef's office. April 2, 2024 (credit: Ronit Ben David)
Protesters march toward Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef’s office. April 2, 2024 (credit: Ronit Ben David)

“They protect all the soldiers. They protect the entirety of the people of Israel. It is in their merit. Anyone who doesn’t believe this is a non-believer (epicuros),” added Yosef.

Chief rabbi’s comments against draft of Haredim

The Sephardi chief rabbi has come under fire in recent months for his staunch opposition to drafting haredi young men to the army.

In March, Yosef said that the haredim would all leave Israel if the draft was enforced among Haredim.

“They need to understand, all these secular people who don’t understand, they need to understand that without the Torah, without the yeshivot, without the kollels, the IDF wouldn’t succeed. Already the army doesn’t always succeed, we saw how the army ‘succeeded’ on Simchat Torah,” said the rabbi at the time.

Earlier this month, protesters demonstrated against the rabbi and presented him with a “Dividing Israel” award, a reference to the Israel Prize that the rabbi is set to receive on Independence Day.

The “award” stated that it was being presented for Yosef’s “work in diving the nation, entrenching the polarization, and perpetuating the draft dodging of haredim.” The award also mentions the rabbi’s comments against army service.

A draft exemption for haredi young men ended earlier this month, with the High Court of Justice ruling last month that the government would need to end all funding to yeshivas where students were not drafted up until now.

The exemption had technically expired last year, but the government approved a resolution deferring the draft of haredim until a new law on the matter could be formulated. That resolution expired on April 1 after the government failed to pass new legislation on the matter.

Attorney-General Gali Baharav Miara stated earlier this month that the government no longer had a legal basis for not drafting haredi young men.

Previous Story

Professional pickleball signs first international deal, looks to grow the sport in India

Next Story

Chants of ‘shame on you’ greet guests at White House correspondents’ dinner shadowed by war in Gaza

Latest from Blog