The new special induction centers meant to process haredi men answering their draft orders have been abruptly put on hold after haredi leadership, afraid that some yeshiva students would actually enlist rather than get deferments, threatened to order all yeshiva students to defy the draft orders.
IDF Forced By Government To Back Down To Haredi Demands
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The new special induction centers meant to process haredi men answering their draft orders have been abruptly put on hold after haredi leadership threatened to order all yeshiva students to defy the draft orders, the Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz and other Israeli media are reporting.
Haredi leaders were worried that special videos and other information meant to explain the different haredi IDF service tracks would entice some yeshiva students to opt for immediate enlistment rather than defer their IDF service through yeshiva study.
Yated Ne’eman, the daily newspaper published by the mainsteam haredi faction headed by Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman, published a report Friday saying that haredim who receive draft notices or who go to to the IDF centers to get deferrals or exemptions would be required to go to the new haredi induction centers where they would be given printed information about the various induction tracks and be shown the videos.
Haredi leadership reacted with anger and threats, prompting the government to ask the IDF to hold off on using the new haredi centers.
If Steinman and other mainstream haredi leaders would order yeshiva students not to report for their initial IDF screenings, the army would be faced with the task of arresting thousands of AWOL haredim.
The Zionist Orthodox HaBayit HaYehudi Party’s Knesset faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked, who headed the Knesset committee that wrote the new draft law, met with Brig.-Gen. Gadi Agmon of the IDF Manpower Directorate and with senior haredi leadership. That resulted in an agreement not to operate the special haredi induction centers at this time.
“Anyone who will receive an exemption or who is able to receive a deferral will go to the [standard] enlistment offices and will receive the deferral immediately without needing to go through any procedure or to watch any presentations of videos,” Shaked said Sunday, adding that specific areas in regular IDF induction centers would be set aside for haredim reporting to receive their deferral or exemption.
There were also rumors that haredim would be drafted by force at the new induction centers – something the IDF strongly denied.
“[The IDF will] obey the government’s decisions for the draft of Haredim according to the scope decided upon, while engaging in a dialogue that would allow the Haredi community’s unique needs to be met. According to law, those who defined themselves as engaging in Torah study as their main activity would be summoned to enable them to be drafted or defer their service. The claims that the induction center for haredim is going to implement the draft processes by force are not true,” the spokesman's office said.
Under the terms of the new draft law, no haredim will be legally obligated to serve in the IDF until mid-2017 at the earliest.
Even so, the Vizhniter Rebbe, Gerrer Rebbe and Slonimer Rebbe are all reportedly of the opinion that both the IDF and government will give in to haredi demands if senior haredi rabbis forbid yeshiva students to report to induction centers.
Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, the head of the non-hasidic haredi rebel faction, already has instructed yeshiva students not to report to IDF induction centers for preliminary processing.
Several of his students have been jailed for draft-dodging as a result.