He is also a major in the infantry reserves of the Israel Defense Forces, IDF.

In times of war, the long-standing military exemption for the ultra-Orthodox, also known as haredim, is dividing the country.

Secular Israelis are angry that they are shouldering the risk and drudgery of fighting in Gaza.

On the other side, many haredim say they will not accept forced conscription.

"We prefer to die, and not to go to the army."

But some, like Levi, come forward voluntarily to serve in the army.

He says attitudes are softening within some parts of the community towards military service amid the war in Gaza.

And that, he hopes, could be enough to ease the current crisis.

"I feel that in the haredi society, a lot of people, they are much more supportive of the IDF. They feel that's something's different now. They feel that they need to be part of it. They feel that the terrorism attacks can come to the haredi neighborhoods."

The ultra-Orthodox haredi community has been exempt from military service since the founding of Israel in 1948.

The country's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion exempted about 400 students from military duty so they could devote themselves to religious study.

Ben-Gurion had hoped to keep alive sacred knowledge and traditions almost wiped out in the Holocaust.

Since then the ultra-Orthodox Jews have gone from being a tiny minority to making up more than 13% of the country's population.

Many haredi men do not work but live off donations, state benefits and the often modest wages of their wives, many of whom do work.

Levi says around 10% of the haredim come forward voluntarily for the standard three years of military service.

That amounts to just 1,200 ultra-Orthodox volunteers a year - a tiny number compared to an estimated 170,000 active soldiers and nearly 500,000 reservists in Israel.

The IDF does not publish official troop numbers.

Most of the ultra-Orthodox volunteers serve in seven units tailored for their needs.

They have all-male training staff, strictly kosher rations and lectures by rabbis.

Levi also runs the Netzah Yehuda organization that encourages ultra-Orthodox enlistment.

"We can double it, and can triple it, in one, two years, and can see a lot of haredim and it's going to be enough to the IDF. They don't want all the haredim in the IDF service."

For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this issue has also come to a head.

His government relies on ultra-Orthodox support for its survival.

The two haredi parties in his coalition want to keep exemptions for their communities.

Their departure could trigger new elections, which opinion polls indicate Netanyahu would lose.

On the other hand, Netanyahu's own defense minister, Yoav Gallant, and his allies want a far broader conscription law.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Israel's Sephardi chief chaplain and the spiritual mentor of ultra-Orthodox party Shas, warned the government that haredim would move abroad rather than be forced into the army.

25-year-old Shimi Schlesinger is a haredi seminary student.

"The situation regarding the military service is very difficult. We understand the sorrow of the secular families on the other side who serve in the military. But honestly, we aren't able to serve in the military. Because, without Torah, there would not exist a Jewish community. The military contradicts our values, of the haredi community. These two conditions make it clear that we cannot enlist. And I believe that Torah protects us even more than the military. That's a fact that Oct. 7 reveals."

The IDF declined to comment on the conscription debate, referring policy questions to the government.