Under a new plan expected to be approved today by the Government of Israel, 1,300 haredim will ‘enlist’ in national service that amounts to volunteer work often done in their own communities. However, thousands of other haredi yeshiva students will be ruled exempt, both from national service and the military draft.
Netanyahu Sells Out To Haredim, Again Ignores High Court, Over Draft
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Under a new plan expected to be approved today by the Government of Israel, 1,300 haredim will ‘enlist’ in national service that amounts to volunteer work often done in their own communities.
However, thousands of other haredi yeshiva students will be ruled exempt, both from national service and the military draft.
Israel’s High Court of Justice previous struck down the Tal Law, which exempted all full time haredi students from the military draft and national service.
The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu has since then rejected every plan to draft haredim created by commissions it itself formed to study the issue.
This new plan – which appears to violate the spirt, and perhaps the letter, of the High Court’s ruling – would only be in effect until August 31, 2013, and is being presented as a bridge between the Tal Law, which has not been in force since August 1, 2012, and a new plan to draft haredim that many observers think will never be put in place.
Former opposition head Tzipi Livni and other political and social leaders from both the left and the right reportedly attacked the Netanyahu government for failing to uphold the High Court’s ruling.
"The government's intention to circumvent the court and perpetuate a historical social wrong is beyond outrageous and has no legal merit. The government – right before the elections – is choosing to spit in the face of the Zionist majority, people who serve in the IDF, who are called for reserve duty time and again, and who are no longer willing to abide this situation.” Livni said.
“There are more and more haredim that want to enlist, HaBayit HaYehudi Party Chairman Naftali Bennett said. “The government must stop buying time and instead create solutions in the form of channels through which haredim can fulfill their share of the burden.”
The Forum for Citizen Equal Rights and Obligations’s Zohara Berger-Tzur noted that “rather than dealing with the problem in a serious, thorough and responsible manner, the government again has chosen to do what is expedient [for it].”
MK Tzipi Hotovely, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, reportedly told Maariv today that she thought the next government coalition could be made without including Netanyahu’s current coalition partner, the haredi Shas party.
“A certain elite should be allowed to continue their Torah study” but a universal draft for the remainder of the ultra-Orthodox is necessary, Hotovely reportedly said. “There is only one way to achieve that: Don’t give Shas any power.”
Yohanan Plesner, the Kadima Party lawmaker originally tapped by Netanyahu to head the commission Netanyahu himself formed to draft a replacement for Tal Law and who has become a sharp critic of Netanyahu’s behavior in its aftermath, attacked Netanyahu over again today, calling this latest plan “another attempt by the Netanyahu government to maintain the reality of widespread [haredi] draft dodging.”
Update 2:30 pm CST – Ha'aretz has some of the new plan's details:
…The new plan, called "Shirut Le'umi Meshamer," allows Yeshiva students to join national service as opposed to joining the IDF, and comes amid the legislative no-man's-land that ensued following the repeal of the Tal Law by the Supreme Court in August.
As part of the newly approved scheme, the defense minister is obliged to postpone the military service of Yeshiva students approved for national civil service, and who are at least 26 years old or are at least 22 years old and have at least one child.
In addition, the decision will also affect Yeshiva students who are at least 22 years old and who applied to join the national service's national-security track.
Haredi men who volunteer as part of "Shirut Le'umi Mishmar" will be exempt from military service and will receive a grant equivalent to the one received by soldiers following their service.…