JERUSALEM (JTA) — The head of a haredi Orthodox group called on parents to prevent their children from dressing up as Israeli soldiers for Purim.
Rabbi Mordechai Blau, head of the Guardians of Sanctity and Education, cited tension over the drafting of yeshiva students in offering the warning on Wednesday. Israeli army costumes are popular among young Orthodox boys at Purim time.
“We are at a time of evil decrees, and dressing up as a soldier in this period does not increase happiness, rather it increases sadness,” Blau said, according to the Israel Hayom Hebrew-language daily newspaper. “There are children for whom soldiers are likely to take on a frightening meaning, like taking their older brother away” to the army.
Rather, the rabbi suggested, boys should dress in U.S. Army costumes for next month’s holiday.
Last week haredi Orthodox demonstrators throughout Israel protested against millions of dollars in cuts to yeshiva funding ordered by Finance Minister Yair Lapid in response to a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court over the haredi Orthodox yeshiva students’ draft deferrals.
A government committee headed by lawmaker Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home Party is working to finish revising a universal draft law that already has passed its first reading in the Knesset. The final bill is expected to be brought for its second and third reading in mid-March.
The leaders of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta in previous years have urged their followers not to dress up on Purim as soldiers, policemen or rescue workers.