Q. If this is a military program, why is there a need for private funding?
A. We have joined forces with the IDF in an attempt to find a socio-economic solution for the many Haredi youth who are neither learning in Yeshivot nor serving in the army. In order to reach out to these young men, and provide for their unique needs, requires much more than making them soldiers. It requires a staff of highly qualified professional educators (whose numbers grow proportionate to the number of recruits and bases). It entails creating an educational and vocational system that will both guide and provide every soldier with the tools necessary to reach his potential. It demands grueling hours from a dedicated staff of recruiters. Our office and staff coordinate all non-military activities that are invaluable to the success of the program. Other army programs are able to draw on all the resources of their movement in order to facilitate the varied needs of young soldiers. Unlike those programs, no Haredi youth movement or support system exists. The army does its part but we need your support to do ours!
Q. What is the feedback from the IDF about the progress of these Nahal Haredi Battalion?
A. The following is a translation of an excerpt from a military report concerning a commander's course where 11 of the 95 participants were from the Nahal Haredi:
"From the outset of the course, the soldiers of Nahal Haredi made a positive impression, performing as high caliber infantrymen, showing serious participation in coursework, and conducting themselves in a serious manner. They got along well with the rest of the soldiers in the group, and adjusted well socially with the general public at the base. They conducted themselves according to halacha and gave reinforcement to other observant soldiers in the larger group of participants."
Q. How do the Haredi parents feel about their sons joining Nahal Haredi?
A. Being part of something new is invariably met with a certain amount of trepidation that makes the enlistment process very difficult. However, as soon as parents visit the training base and see for themselves the kosher environment, they are visibly moved. Almost all of them have said, "Finally, there is an acceptable environment for the growth and development of our sons." As standard procedure, our staff regularly contacts parents to ensure sure that they know that we really do care about their sons.
Q. Does this program have the endorsement of leading rabbinical authorities?
A. Netzach Yehuda was founded, and continues to be endorsed, by G'dolei Torah (leading rabbinical authorities).
Q. Beyond army service, what happens next?
A. Consistent with our mission of preparing soldiers to return to a productive civilian life, the Nahal Haredi program implements an agenda to accomplish this result by providing every soldier with the option to acquire either high school matriculation or vocational training. Constant review and revision insures that the training is both tailored for the individual and is economically effective.
Q. What is the working relationship between the Nahal Haredi Organization and the IDF?
A. The Nahal Haredi non-profit organization (Amuta in Hebrew) works arm-in-arm with both the Israel Defense Forces and the Ministry of Defense, defining the units' Religion related regulations and unique needs. What differentiates this battalion is the fact that Nahal Haredi's rabbinical and lay leadership is actively involved in providing for each and every soldiers physical and spiritual needs-from the minute he dons the uniform, to the day that he leaves the IDF and begins his new life in the real world.
Nahal Haredi has well-defined recruitment guidelines as outlined by both the IDF and Ministry of Defense and subsidizes many of its recruitment activities. As part of the organization's symbiotic relationship with the military establishment, The Nahal Haredi organization shares the responsibility and costs for developing critical third year educational programs with the Ministry of Defense
Q. What does the Nahal Haredi do for chayalim bodedim - soldiers who are either orphans or whose families are abroad or dysfunctional?
A. The composition of any battalion in the IDF is composed of a percentage of soldiers who are either orphans or those whose parents live abroad. The Nahal Haredi has a higher proportion of chayalim bodedim than is found in other battalions. Nahal Haredi has created an additional definition of a chayal boded. For many soldiers, enlistment into the Nahal Haredi is more than just a bold decision to serve their country. It is a choice that many times has serious social and family repercussions that result in situations where the proud soldier now in uniform does not feel welcome at home or in his community. He finds himself lacking the very basic needs of existence e.g. living quarters and sustenance, when he leaves the confines of his army base. He has parents, but he doesn't have a home!
The army does recognize the difficulties of being a chayal boded and provides room and board as well as recreation for them when on furlough. The chayal boded also receives a higher army stipend than a regular soldier that enables him to better cope with his financial circumstances. Unfortunately, these special considerations that the army awards are not tailored to the needs of a haredi soldier. The army has facilities for chayalim bodedim on leave, these facilities are coed and the kashrus requirements are less stringent than what is provided to our soldiers on base. This does not provide an acceptable solution.
Our soldiers need to be in a warm and protected environment such that their time on leave will be to their maximum benefit. We, therefore, need to create a Beit Hachayal facility that can cater to the specific needs of our soldiers. Until this eventuality will be fulfilled, the Nahal Haredi organization must struggle with complicated and tenuous arrangements on a permanent basis.