As he said he wanted to do, Israel’s Likud Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has decided to defer the conscription of the 500 haredi yeshiva students who were drafted after the blanket haredi draft exemptions were ruled illegal by the High Court of Justice last year, and who were supposed to report to induction centers August 18.
Likud Moves To Postpone Haredi Draft, Despite High Court Ruling
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
As he said he wanted to do, Israel’s Likud Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has decided to defer the conscription of the 500 haredi yeshiva students who were drafted after the blanket haredi draft exemptions were ruled illegal by the High Court of Justice last year, and who were supposed to report to induction centers August 18, Ha'aretz reported.
Ya’alon opposes any penalties for haredim who dodge the draft, meaning most haredim will never serve. He worked with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to scuttle previous proposed haredi draft bills and to delay the current one from having its final Knesset vote.
Ya'alon used the delay in that vote as pretext for delaying the induction of those already drafted haredi yeshiva students.
Ya’alon’s decision is almost certainly a violation of a High Court of Justice order mandating equality in the draft.
Likud politicians, especially Netanyahu, have arguably made entire careers violating, skirting and ignoring rulings of the High Court.
The 500 haredim have new induction date in November, but Ya’alon will almost certainly postpone it again.
The state is supposed to respond today to a petition to the High Court of Justice that demands theh state clarify what it – and Ya’alon – intend to do about haredim who were been drafted after the blanket haredi draft exemptions were ended by the High Court and the passage of the new haredi draft law, which is now expected to pass the Knesset in early autumn.
“There is no alternative but to postpone drafting them until November. Then we’ll see which of them has the desire or the ability to join the army, and which of them will receive a deferral on the grounds that ‘Torah study is their occupation’,” Ya’alon told Ha’aretz.
His response appears to be a violation of the High Court’s ruing on the issue.
“Defense Minister Ya’alon doesn’t have the authority to defer the service of yeshiva students. The attempt to do so is an underhanded move and a blatant disregard of the rule of law and the constitutional principles of the State of Israel, Shahar Ilan of the religious freedom group Hiddush told Ha’aretz.
“The plan to defer enlistment for yeshiva students who have received draft notices for August spits in the face of thousands of draftees in July and August who are not Haredi. It is a formal declaration on the part of the state that the blood of Haredim is worth more than that of others,” Ilan added.
Meanwhile, an officer in the IDF Personnel Directorate to the paper that the solution the state – meaning Netanyahu and Ya’alon – may use until the new draft bill is passed and then comes into full force several years later is as follows:
• According to the Defense Service Law, the IDF can defer any draftee’s service by as much as two years, and that will be done for all haredim.
• After that 2-year period ends, each day or month that goes by without haredi soldiers being drafted will be considered by the IDF as time served in the military, as long as it is the IDF’s makes choice to defer the service and not the draftee.
This Ya’alon-Netanyahu proposed solution to the haredi draft also appears to be a clear violation of the High Court’s ruling.
Likud’s only natural political allies are the haredi political parties, both of which strongly oppose any draft of haredi yeshiva students.
Netanyahu’s best (and many say, only real) chance of retaining power after the next election is to form a coalition with those haredi parties.
But that may only be possible if Netanyhu and his Likud Party find a way of scuttling or pushing off the haredi draft now.