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Campaign aims to encourage haredim to enlist

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Activists seeking a universal army draft launched a campaign on Tuesday aiming to encourage yeshiva students to join the IDF.

Members of the right-wing Im Tirtzu movement and the Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden hung posters calling on ultra-Orthodox youths to enlist, and were expected to set up stalls in front of the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak and on the streets of Vizhnitz, a haredi neighborhood in Haifa. The activists sought to get passersby to sign a petition in support of a universal draft and give out balloons, stickers and brochures.

The campaign is expected to reach Jerusalem next week.

The organizers behind the initiative said that beyond motivating haredim to enlist, their goal is to raise the public's awareness to the issue.

"With all due respect to the war on Iran's nuclear program, we must remember that in a time of war, someone will have to fight to protect the country," one activist said. "We cannot let the bombastic headlines divert our attention from an issue that the Israeli public and the leaders must discuss – the importance of sharing the (defense) burden."

Im Tirtzu Chairman Ronen Shoval said that the campaign meant to generate a honest debate over the issue.

"Unfortunately, the public dialogue goes over the heads of the haredim, and doesn't penetrate their hearts," he told Yedioth Ahronoth. "(…) We are urging the ultra-Orthodox public to show social responsibility and become full partners not only in its spiritual existence, but also in its physical one."



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