The Satmar Chasidic movement held a massive rally this weekend in Manhattan to protest the Israeli government’s efforts to draft yeshiva students into the military. Some estimates had attendance at an impressive 30,000.
In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, home to a large Charedi population, organizers placed posters around the neighborhood to promote the rally. But one set of posters was rapidly removed according to a community source who spoke anonymously to The Algemeiner, for fear of damaging his business with the community, because the poster’s rallying cry accidentally contravened the Satmar movement’s official line.
“Shall your brothers go into battle while you remain here?” the poster screamed in large red print, encouraging Charedim in New York to take to the streets in support of the struggle faced by their brothers in Israel. Taken from the bible, the words are spoken by Moses as he chastises the tribes of Reuben and Gad both of which propose settling in Transjordan rather than Israel, and imply that they do not wish to take up arms for the conquest of Israel. The bible story takes place right as the Israelites are about to enter Israel after fleeing slavery in Egypt. Moses subsequently commands the tribes that they must fight for Israel.
The source noted that this biblical phrase wherein Moses commands the tribes who wish to opt out of military service to in fact take up arms for Israel, would appear to promote IDF enlistment rather than reject it. The source said that the posters were on “every street pole” but that the Charedim in the area seemed to wise up soon after, as they were taken down not too long after the error was spotted.