Yeshivat Hesder is an Israeli program, which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service in the Israel Defense Forces, usually within a Religious Zionist framework. These yeshivot allow religious Jews to fulfill the ideal of full and active participation in the defense of the Israeli people, while still engaging in intense Torah study during their formative years.
|1. The first Yeshiva to join this arrangement was “Kerem B’yavne”, established in the 1950s.2. The number of yeshiva students joining the program in a year is 1,30o, which is about one fifth of the Religious Zionist framework high-school graduates. The others typically continue to advanced yeshiva or regular military service.3. Yeshivot Hesder focus on advanced Talmudic studies, called “Limud Ma’amik”4. The Yeshivot Hesder program highlights the value of contribution to society, in addition to religious studies.5. Many of the participating students also volunteer in organizations such as Civil Guard (Mishmar Ezhakhi), Red David Shield (Magen David Adom), municipal and various yeshiva-initiated communal activities.
6. The program duration is five years. Each year is referred to as “Shiur”, similar to school classes.
|Hebron Yeshiva, Givat Mordekhai, JerusalemYeshivat Birkat Habanim, Jerusalem
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7.Exceeding the military’s requirements to function as soldiers in combat units, many of the program graduates continue and develop in the IDF chain of command as officers and leaders. The Yeshivot Hesder program resulted in a new phenomena of Rabbis and Yeshiva people and leaders who serve in the Israeli military (IDF) as commanders at all officer ranks.
8. The legal standing of yeshivot taking part in the Hesder program was regulated for years by orders of the Israeli Minister of Defense. In 1999, a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court invalidated such orders dealing with exemptions from service of Haredi yeshiva students. This resulted in inclusion of the Yeshivot Hesder in the same Knesset law concerning exemption from service to Haredi yeshiva students.