A nation of Israel exits, not because of prayers to God, but due to the bravery of its people who held off numerous Arab armies in 1948 and prevented the annihilation of Jews than living in Palestine. In the aftermath of victory, and realization that most rabbis had been murdered during the Holocaust it was decided to exempt Torah students in order to allow them to pursue religious studies. What began as an important factor of survival of the Jewish religion has been transformed into a welfare program for religious students in Israel. They study, while others risk their lives.
A new bill would end this discrimination but it has been greeted with horror by Haredi leaders who insist asking young scholars to turn away from their studies represents the end of the Jewish religion. Slow down. Yes, it is important to study the Torah, but it is also important to participate in Jewish life. And, Jewish life in 2013 includes both Orthodox to Reform. It is important for Orthodox leaders to become engaged with Reform leaders. In doing so, they further development of the Jewish religion.