JERUSALEM – March 02, 2014 — Hundreds of thousands of Haredim gathered in Jerusalem this evening to demonstrate their rapid deployment capabilities ahead of the imminent army draft. “We want to send a clear message to the Israel government and people that we are ready and able to deploy and serve en mass at a moment’s notice,” said a spokesperson for the group.
Many secular Israelis were concerned that the Haredim would make poor soldiers, and this event allays their fears. “These Haredim get into uniform and in formation as fast as any Chiloni brigade,” said a surprised IDF reservist Tal Guy walking by the scene. “I was concerned with their aversion to technology they would have difficulty communicating or getting urgent messages, but clearly they have instant messaging capabilities on par with ICQ,” he said, referring to a chat technology developed by ex-IDF officers.
The Israeli army lives and breathes among the day-to-day life of Israel on the ability to rapidly come together for a mission, and these 600,000 Charedim are eager to prove they can get to their post instantly. “It also helps that we’re not distracted during the day with work,” said one Grand Rabbi representing a popular Meah Shearim sect. He asked not to be identified to prevent his name appearing next to a woman’s.
Psalms (Tehillim) and prayers will be said at the rally, specifically ones praying for the safety of the state of Israel and the men and women who bravely defend it. However, the core purpose is to show how months of underground preparations have built a surprisingly agile, aggressive, and eager brigade for the IDF.
Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, accompanied by the Grand Rabbi of the Vizhnitz Hassidim, Rabbi Yisroel Hager, will lead the group in basic exercises. “You know, push ups, squats… things you can do without equipment. Expect heavy emphasis on squats and lunges.” said Shteinman. “Sunday is leg day,” explained Hager.
Asked if other Haredi groups will join, such as the Netzah Yehuda Battalion (also known as Nahal Haredi), Shteinman said, “We’re very open to working with other groups. Right now our focus is in getting our men and women prepared, but there’s a future. That’s our core message. We’ve got signs up on all the poster boards and yeshiva walls: There’s a future. Yesh Atid.”
The group is expected to end with a round of 50 jumping jacks. “They’re not just aerobic, they’re fun and great for morale,” said Shteinman.