In response to a demand for information made by the High Court of Justice, the office of Israel’s attorney general told the High Court Sunday that the Ministry of Defense has given full military service exemptions to 633 more haredi men who received draft notices after the Tal Law expired on August 1, 2012 in addition to the 602 haredi men who got these alegedly illegal exemptions in July 2013 – and the government wants to grant 1,803 more draft exemptions to haredi yeshiva students next month.
Government Allegedly Deceived High Court Of Justice, Granted Illegal Haredi Draft Exemptions
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
In response to a demand for information made by the High Court of Justice, the office of Israel’s attorney general told the High Court Sunday that the Ministry of Defense has given full military service exemptions to 633 more haredi men who received draft notices after the Tal Law expired on August 1, 2012 in addition to the 602 haredi men who got these alegedly illegal exemptions in July 2013, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The AG’s office also reportedly told the High Court that the Likud-Party-controlled Defense Ministry was “considering” giving full exemptions to another 1,803 haredi yeshiva students who are slated to be drafted on December 22.
The High Court has already ruled that these exemptions are illegal, and recently demanded the government explain how many such exemptions it has given and explain the reason for giving them.
The religious freedom nonprofit Hiddush and other similar groups have repeatedly asked the High Court to ban these haredi draft exemptions and compel the government to pass a new draft law – a task the Benjamin Netanyahu-led government has been stalling since February 2012, when the high Court ruled the Tal Law granting full military exemptions to all full time haredi yeshiva students was illegal.
The High Court delayed ruling on the petitions from Hiddush and the other groups because it thought haredim were receiving draft notices and would eventually be drafted.
But the draft notices were apparently issued only to delay the High Court’s ruling.
In fact, along with these hundreds of allegedly illegal exemptions, many given without the High Court’s knowledge, the Netanyahu-led government has reportedly been dramatically inflating the number of haredim who have actually voluntarily enlisted in the IDF. Most so-called haredi enlistees are really Zionist Orthodox, ex-haredim and ba’al teshuvas – not current haredim born into haredi families. But the government has tried to hide that fact from the public and from the High Court.
The head of Hiddush, Reform Rabbi Uri Regev, was reportedly shocked by the government’s brazen disregard for the law.
“[Haredi] yeshiva students can relax. It’s becoming clear that the State of Israel sent them conscription orders merely to deceive the High Court of Justice, and it doesn’t intend to draft even one [haredi] yeshiva student against his will,” Regev reportedly said.
Gilad Barnea, the attorney handling the High Court petition for Hiddush, was equally blunt.
“[The Defense Minister and the government are] continuing to violate their obligation to draft anyone who the law stipulates must perform military service [as well as violating the principles of equality], a disgusted Barnea reportedly said.
Likud's only natural allies in the Knesset are haredi political parties and and most observers believe Netanyahu will need the support of these parties if he is to remain prime minister after the next election.
Haredi rabbinic leaders and politicians are vehently opposed to any draft of haredim.