Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

We cannot accept this threat.

SEPHARDI CHIEF RABBI Yitzhak Yosef speaks at a Shas Party election rally at the Yazdim Synagogue in Jerusalem last year. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The ultimatum thrown by the Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, threatening a mass exodus under the pretext of “If they force us to join the army, we will all move abroad,” echoes not just as a desertion in the face of duty but as an affront to the fundamental principles of courage and sacrifice that have forged the spirit of our nation. This statement, far from being a defense of the sacred study of the Torah, reveals itself as a cowardly abdication of the shared responsibility to protect and preserve our land and our people.

Elevating the study of the Torah onto an isolated pedestal while ignoring the bravery and commitment of those who don their uniform with honor, Rabbi Yosef not only distorts the moral scale—he breaks it. His declaration, “The state exists thanks to the study of the Torah,” rings not as a profound truth but as a pitiful excuse, a pathetic attempt to justify a flight from the multifaceted reality of Israel, where every drop of sweat and blood shed by our soldiers is as sacred as the words of the Torah.

Rabbi David Stav, in his response, does not merely touch upon the wound opened by such a statement but exposes it under the harsh light of truth, marking it as “a moral stain and a disgrace to God’s name.” Stav’s critique is not just a shout against insensitivity but a call to awaken the collective consciousness, a reminder that to renounce military service is, in essence, to deny ourselves the very fabric of our society.

The strength of Israel has never been measured solely by the wisdom contained in its holy texts but also by the resilience and courage of its people in defending, tooth and nail, the ground they walk on. The accurate measure of a nation lies not only in the altars of prayer but on the front lines of battle, in the beating heart of its sons and daughters who say “Here I am” when the trumpet of duty sounds.

Rabbi Yosef’s stance is not just a challenge to the fabric of our society; it is an insult to the memory of those who sacrificed everything for the promise of Israel. Thus, the question arises: are we willing to allow such words to divert us from the path of solidarity, courage, and unwavering commitment to defending our land and our people? The answer, filled with anger and determination, must be a resounding no.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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