West Bank yeshiva returned to study-army service program

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Har Bracha Yeshiva in the West Bank was reinstated to Israel’s program combining yeshiva study with army service following a nearly four-year absence.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon readmitted the yeshiva, which had been removed from the hesder program in December 2009, on Monday.

Ya’alon’s predecessor, Ehud Barak, had cut ties between the army and Har Bracha after the yeshiva’s head, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, refused repeated requests to meet with Barak over statements the rabbi reportedly made urging his students to refuse orders, such as assisting in the evacuation of West Bank settlements and outposts.

Ya’alon reportedly spoke by phone with Melamed, who still heads the yeshiva, before making his decision.

Two other yeshivas also were added Monday to the list of about 40 hesder yeshivas in Israel. Under the program, started in 1953, students combine 18 months of military service with more than three years of yeshiva study.

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