I am not a political pundit so instead of attempting to discuss this past week’s serious political spasm of the current Israeli Government, created in part by the re-proposal of the Tal Law*, I will limit myself to sharing three photographs I recently took in Jerusalem’s Geula (Redemption) neighborhood.
Geula, located in central Jerusalem, is bounded on the south by western Jerusalem city center, and on the north, east and west respectively by the Bukarim, Meah Sharim, and Mekor Baruch neighborhoods. Geula is home to many different segments of the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox community including Haredim, Hasidic and Lithuanian Jews, amongst these are the anti-Zionist Toldos Aharon, Satmar and Neturei Karta Jewish sects.
During a Friday morning walk-about in the Geula neighborhood, as I was looking at some books, I noticed an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier comfortably standing outside of the store. In the detail photograph* which follows, his payot (side curls), home-made crotched kippah (skull cap), and military insignia are visible. The long payot and large kippah identify him as ultra-orthodox, his military insignia identify him as a sergeant in the IDF Infantry Corps – Kfir Brigade. This IDF sergeant, who presumably lives in Geula, belongs to a brigade that specializes in anti-terror fighting and combat in urban areas, and he willing volunteered to stand at the forefront of our nation’s determined fight against terrorism.
In these two photographs, it is obvious that the IDF sergeant fits right in to the Geula neighborhood, with members of Toldos Aharon members simply walking past him.
Perhaps, he is a lonely exception to the rule that says Ultra-Orthodox don’t serve in the IDF. But I would like to think that he is part of a growing ultra-orthodox minority who like the rest of us believes that it is a special privilege to protect the State of Israel by serving in the IDF. May G-d bless him and all of our IDF soldiers! Kol HaKavod L’Tzahal! (All honor to the IDF!)
*This law calls for drafting of all Haredim and Hasidim [Ultra-Orthodox Jews] who currently receive permanent deferral from military service.
**I choose to self-censor all three of the photographs by blocking out the the IDF Soldier’s face in order to respect his right to personal privacy.
All photographs are by Isa David-Ben-Rafael and are the copyrighted property of IsraeLightly blog.