The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is the holy bible of Psychiatry. While most other diagnoses in medicine require a certain standardized approach in terms of things which rule a condition in or out, Psychiatry lives and dies by the fixed criteria contained in the DSM. One could be crying uncontrollably for 13 days but you have to be despondent for 14 to be diagnosed with major depression, for example.
To its credit, the DSM does change over time to reflect new understandings in mental illness. Conditions appear and disappear depending (usually) on new research and discoveries. Sometimes these changes are controversial (homosexuality was removed by open vote at an annual APA meeting, for example) and sometimes they are just odd.
For example, the DSM III contained a personality disorder called "Passive Aggressive". Now, we all know folks like this. They whinge and whinge for help but throw up roadblacks the minute any is offered. They prefer to be in a state of misery, finding it familiar and comfortable. They are clearly the most frustrating folks to treat.
Yet the DSM IV removed Passive Aggressive. It was felt by the researchers at the APA that most of the features were similar enough to the Dependent personality disorder and therefore Passive Aggressives could be subsumed into that category. Me, I disagreed but who am I to know better than the APA?
If there is one example of Passive Aggressive in the Jewish world, it is definitely the Israeli Chareidi community. One need only look at the statements of its leaders and PR bagmen to see how the criteria play out. The most recent article in the Israeli press regarding Chareidim and army service is just another example. As usual, the author puts the blame on the secular population. It's not that the Ultra-Orthodox don't want to servce. The Chareidim, it seems, are just not wanted in the army because they're too different:
I will never forget the experience of going through my IDF tests as an adolescent. The slang that was used along with the cursing was more than I heard since the day I was born to that day. Indeed, those who boldly stand up and speak out bluntly are right: The haredim aren’t really fit for military service.
I have no doubt that fans of cheap populism will speak out now and slam these words, which many good people know are true. Meanwhile, some politicians will continue to utter hateful words, because this hatred motivates their actions and they won’t let the facts confuse them. They shall continue to stick to their theories, just like they will continue to demand that the haredim head out to work, without checking how many are already working and how many want to work but can’t, because they did not serve in the IDF or because their studies are not recognized as an academic degree.
The Israeli army has, since the founding of the State, proved that no one is unwanted when it comes to military service. Where the Russians who came en masse 20 years ago so similar to Israelis that integrating them wasn't an issue? Did the Ethiopians just blend in when their turn came? Somehow the IDF has absorbed disparate populations, as much variety as the UN claims to have, but the Chareidim are the exception to the rule?
Over twenty years ago I recall reading an article in The Jerusalem Post about a failed effort to create a new Chareidi unit. All efforts were made to ensure there would be no problems. No training on Shabbos, only male instructors, time for learning, etc. And why did the program fail? The recruits wanted mehadrin min mehadrin food and the stuff supplied was only mehadrin! A shande! How could such an insensitive thing happen?
The idea that somehow it's the secular popuation that is making the army inhospitable to the Chareidi community is an insult to both the Chilonim who have bent over backwards to create as Jewish an army as possible and to the Chareidim who actually do serve in the army and show that these pretend obstacles can be overcome, that it is possible to protect the State and being fully yiras Shamayim at the same time. No amount of passive aggressive whinging by an author who admits that he was too fat for army service anyway will change that.