Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon
Government, Probably Illegally, Postpones Draft of Haredi Yeshiva Students For Third Time
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon of the Likud Party has just postponed drafting 1,800 haredi yeshiva students who were scheduled to report to the IDF at the end of this month, Ha’aretz reported.
Ya’alon issued the postponement – the third for haredi yeshiva students this year – yesterday, despite widespread opposition from Israelis across the political spectrum.
Previous postponements of the draft of other haredi cohorts by Ya’alon took place in August and November. All are now due to be drafted in April – although Ya’alon has perviously indicated he may defer their draft again at that time.
Ya’alon it is unreasonable to draft thousands of haredi yeshiva students into the military before a new draft bill becomes law, a claim many Israelis reject, in part because Ya’alon and his Likud Party leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly taken steps to delay the passage of a new draft law, apparently to appease the only natural Knesset allies Likud has left – haredi political parties.
The current version of the new draft law, which is currently still being debated, would allow haredim to defer military service until they are 21-years old. Non-haredi Israelis must serve when they turn 18.
But the new proposed law goes even further than that and would allow haredim to do national civilian service rather than serve in the military – an option that previously only existed for Zionist Orthodox girls.
Ya’alon argues that because the new proposed law is more lenient than today’s legal baseline, that baseline should be ignored – despite widespread opposition from rank and file Israelis and from the High Court of Justice.
Ya’alon and the Ministry of Justice had hoped the new draft bill with all the leniencies added in for haredim at Likud’s urging would pass before they have to explain the repeated haredi draft postponements to the High Court of Justice – which is clearly upset at Ya’alon’s behavior.
But Ya’alon’s and Likud’s continued tinkering with the bill to try to make it more favorable to haredim has slowed its route to a final vote, and the High Court is reportedly slated to discuss the issue this week.
Netanyahu and Ya’alon – who have spent much of the past 22 months since the High Court ruled the previously law granting haredi yeshiva students blanket exemptions unconstitutional in February 2012 trying to scuttle various proposed bills – are now allegedly pushing the Knesset to fast track this most recent version and bring it to a final vote within two weeks.