Haredim Threaten “All Out War” If Yeshiva Students Are Drafted
Israel’s streets will “burn” if yeshiva students are drafted, haredim claim.
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Haredi Knesset sources threatened an "all out war” if the Tal Law, which provided haredim with a legal way to dodge the draft, is revised in a way that includes a quota for the minimum number of yeshiva students that must be drafted, or penalties for yeshiva students who fail to comply with the revised law, Ynet reported.
The Tal Law, hated by the vast majority of non-haredi Israelis, was declared unconstitutional by Israel’s High Court of Justice. The law expires at 11:59 pm on July 31.
The haredi Knesset sources noted that senior haredi rabbis can simply issue rulings forbidding yeshiva students from serving in the army. The students will follow those rulings.
"What will they [the army, the High Court of Justice, and the government] do? Put in tanks in [the haredi city of] Bnei Brak?"
"This could be a war," another haredi source claimed.
The penalties that are likely to attach to yeshiva students who refuse to be drafted include losing government funding for those yeshiva studies and other financial penalties, some that may impact the student for the rest of his life. The yeshivas themselves could also be penalized.
A committee charged with drafting a potential replacement for the Tal Law has decided to use what Ynet calls a "carrot and stick" approach.
20% of yeshiva students – those considered to be “illuim,” “prodigies” in the parlance of the new law – would be given a permanent exemption from army service.
The remaining 80% of haredi yeshiva students would be able to defer their army service until they turn 22-years-old.
Other Israelis are subject to the draft or enlistment immediately after graduating high school and are forced to push off higher education or vocational training until their service is complete.
Haredim warned that implementing the committee’s recommendations would “set the streets on fire."
"The position of haredim is that this is not a political thing, or an issue that's negotiable. You can't find solutions for the subject of yeshiva boys' draft – there are none. You can't impose service on youths who would rather study Torah. This just can't happen," an Orthodox source told Ynet.
As many observers expected would happen, Israel’s right of center Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly is seeking to find ways to weaken the committee’s recommendations in order to avoid “dividing” the nation.
For decades, haredim have used threats of violence and mass civil disobedience, along with threats to bring down narrow coalition governments, to block attempts to draft yeshiva students.