Child soldiers are an extreme form of child abuse and are not acceptable in the Orthodox Jewish community.
These are children who are forced into the military to serve in the armed forces of a country where they are not permitted to live as adults.
“I have two daughters who are now 20 and 17, and they both went to the military and volunteered for the IDF,” Rabbi Shlomo Mazzoni, the founder of the Bnei Brak Orthodox Jewish School in the US, told Al Jazeera.
“They are young people that are already going through a period of education, and I am very proud of them.”
“Their mother said they are very good at school.
They have great ability.
Their mother said, ‘You know what?
Let’s send them to a school in the city, and in the middle of summer, they will become children of the military.’
And the girls were so enthusiastic about it, and that is why they joined the IDF.”
When Mazzonis and his wife took their daughters to a summer camp in Israel, they found that the girls, both boys, were enrolled as child soldiers.
The girls were sent to the Givat Hamoosh military academy, which was located in the West Bank.
Mazzoni told Al-Jazeera that he and his family felt that they had to do something about it.
He told Al Jazeera: “My daughter, for the first time, went to a camp where she was being trained for war, and when she saw the army, she was like, ‘This is not the right time, I’m going to join the army’.
She joined the army because she had to serve as a soldier.
It is not OK for them to be trained to do things like that.”
Mazda was able to get a court order to keep the girls in the Gavat Hamot military academy and allow them to go to school.
When they arrived at school in August of 2019, the girls said that they were very good in school.
“It was the first year they were not allowed to go back home,” Mazzonen said.
“We took them back to their homes and taught them about the IDF.
We were able to convince the parents to allow them back home.”
At the time, the children’s parents were aware that the school was part of the Israeli army.
“We told them that if they were to be sent to another school, it would be in a different country and there was a high risk of them getting killed,” Mizzoni told JTA.
“But the parents were willing to give them the opportunity to come back home.
One day, when they were still in the military, I called the parents and said, I want you to send them back, because if they do go to a new school, they might die.
So, they did not go to the new school.”
Mazzini and his son have since met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
“[Rivlin] told me he would look into the matter and help them,” Muzzoni said.
Muzzoni also met with Rabbi Yossi Klein, the leader of the United Hebrew Congregation, which has a large Orthodox congregation in the United States.
Rivlins response has been to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Israeli government to allow the children to return home.
In a statement to Al Jazeera, Rivlin’s office said that the children are “free to return to their home and attend school as they please.
In September, Mazzini said that he received an email from Rivlin thanking him for the opportunity and that he hopes that his children can be reunited with their families.
Al Jazeera spoke to Klein’s office, who said that Klein has been in contact with the children, and the families have been able to meet with the president to discuss the issue.
Klein, however, said that his office has been unable to speak with the families.
Al Jazeera contacted the US Department of Education, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the United Nations, approximately 1.5 million children under the age of 15 are currently under military service in the Middle East.
Child soldiers are deployed on the frontlines of conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, among other countries.