Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Conflict Resolution Institute

First Advisor

Karen Feste, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gregory Robbins

Third Advisor

Joan Winn


Civil-military relations, Conscription, Haredim, IDF, Israel Defense Forces, Israel, Ultra-orthodox Jews


The haredim in Israel are an ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious group who uphold the most conservative of Jewish laws. Instead of serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as all other Israelis do, the haredim are exempted from the IDF's policy of universal conscription. This thesis proposes three hypotheses to determine why Israel's haredim do not serve in the IDF. First, the haredim do not serve in the IDF because they do not want to; second, the haredim do not serve because they hold pacifistic political opinions; and third, the haredim do not serve because Jewish religious tradition forbids military service. To test these hypotheses, data were gathered by conducting a literature review and studying Israeli newspapers, official Israeli Government statistics, and unofficial public opinion surveys. Accordingly, a close examination of both the haredi worldview and the cultural characteristics of Israel's haredi communities suggests that the haredim do not want to serve in the IDF for self-interested reasons. Furthermore, a survey of haredi political opinions indicates that the majority of haredim exhibit a hawkish and aggressive political orientation. Finally, an analysis of individual haredi voices reveals that haredi yeshiva students consider their Torah studies to be an integral component to Israel's wartime activities. Contrary to the expectations of this thesis, haredi resistance to military service is not defined by an aversion to war or a commitment to peace, and it therefore cannot serve as a model for advocates of conflict resolution to emulate.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jay M Politzer


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

107 p.


Judaic studies, Military studies, Middle Eastern studies