And just for knowing, the boys themselves in the charedi units in the IDF aren't actually so charedi per se, but these units refer to boys from charedi families, so they are called charedi.
The boys themselves run the spectrum of frumkeit. A minority even committed serious crimes (drug dealing, attempted murder, etc.) during their teens prior to enlistment.
(If boys like that attempt to join the regular army, they get dumped in MAKAM and don't do anything of significance. See here for more: www.myrtlerising.com/blog/have-you-ever-wanted-to-know-what-basic-training-is-like-for-serious-delinquents-teenage-ex-cons-heres-your-chance. Yet if they join one of the charedi units, they face a good chance to rehabilitate themselves.)
But most of them are really good guys.
Also, it depends on the unit. There are different units in different branches of the IDF now, and they attract different types.
My son seems to be in a very clean-cut group with really wonderful frum boys.
So Nachal Charedi has expanded a lot since it first started, with charedi units in several different parts of the army now, each with its own character.
And a few years ago, they started giving the charedi units real missions.
It means the boys proved themselves as up to the task of real missions.
On the downside, the IDF isn't trustworthy with its military policies and don't prioritize the lives or well-being of their soldiers — which also affects the charedi units now.
A Fraternal Tug-of-War
But as things went on, he started resembling the kind of young man Gedolim like Rav Shteinman said should enlist in the charedi section.
This son has an older brother in kollel who consulted with a quiet, humble talmid chacham with lots of experience dealing with young men, and this talmid chacham said the younger brother should enlist.
Thus started a friendly tug-of-war between his two older brothers.
The kollel brother did some research to discover which charedi unit tended to be frummest with religious attitudes, Torah shiurim, etc...in other words, the most conducive for spirituality & religiosity.
And it's a combat unit.
I think the Nachal Charedi combat soldiers still don't do the same kind of missions as other combat units, but they still do tough stuff.
In contrast, the non-charedi older brother who once served in the regular IDF wanted his little brother to be in the safest charedi unit.
However, being a wonderfully macho type, this older brother refused to admit he was concerned for his little brother's physical & psychological well-being (Israeli soldiers with heartbreaking PTSD have been gaining a lot of attention in recent years) and instead couched it in terms of having the best material conditions — the cleanest base, the most comfortable rooms, the best food, etc.
This older brother's good friend served there and enjoyed it just fine. This older brother also insisted it was just as good spiritually as the combat unit.
(If you're wondering, that charedi unit with good material conditions is called Plugat HaNegev and is part of the air force, which is why the conditions are so good.)
Heck, he even convinced me and I went to work on convincing our potential enlistee. But then the kollel brother intervened with both of us in a friendly way.
The 18-year-old also spoke to people and the very real issue of him becoming bored came up.
So combat unit it was.
His non-charedi older brother is thrilled. Though we (and others) initially tried to convince that older brother to enlist in one of the charedi units, he insisted on the regular army service, got sucker-punched by the army, then managed to get himself dishonorably discharged.
(You can read about his adventures starting here: www.myrtlerising.com/blog/sharing-what-burden-exactly-the-unspoken-elephant-in-the-room)
Later, he said he would've been much better off joining one of the charedi units.
So he's very happy his younger brother is doing this and, behind the scenes, had been encouraging him to enlist for around a year now.
Interestingly, this is the only younger brother he ever encouraged to enlist. I overheard him explaining how the other brothers are fine in the charedi lifestyle (whether kollel or working), but he felt this younger brother would not manage in the same way.
My husband also felt enlisting in a charedi unit would be good for him.
So our 18-year-old is there and now is VERY happy. And he's with a great group of guys.
So far, so good, baruch Hashem.
The Good News Not Fit to Print in Mainstream Media: A Young Man in IDF Uniform Entered a Strictly Charedi Neighborhood and — Get This — NOTHING BAD HAPPENED
If you read the regular news, you'll probably be shocked to hear he did not encounter ANY violence or harassment from the non-Zionist charedim in this super-charedi city.
In fact, while buying snacks at a city kiosk, the charedi merchant greeted my son in a friendly manner and even accurately guessed my son's unit by the style of his uniform.
Later, on the bus, several chassidish men he'd never met before greeted my son in a friendly manner, and warmly blessed him with success and that Hashem should protect him.
Pleasant, brotherly incidents like this don't usually get uploaded as videos and the media certainly will not spotlight it.
I don't deny the proven bad incidents. There are definitely problems in our community.
But because the majority of media insists on propagandizing against Torah-observant Jews and the non-charedi Jewish media (including many bloggers) seeks every opportunity to magnify any bad they discover in the charedi community, it's important to spotlight the many wonderful, generous frum Jews too.
Unfortunately, the news loves to shower attention on evil.
But the Torah way is to spotlight all the good and the good people in the world.
Doing It Right
Meaning, he's under no illusions regarding the IDF generals and knows they care not one whit about the soldiers serving under them...nor do these generals care about the citizens they're meant to protect.
Certainly, these generals do not care about Torah or their frum soldiers.
Many of the IDF soldiers and commanders themselves care very much about their fellow Jews, Eretz Yisrael, and doing the right thing.
But the top-of-the-brass high mucky-muck generals? Nah. Don't delude yourself.
You can't trust them one bit.
So that's what's going on over here.