Member of Knesset Rabbi Moshe Gafni of the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party allegedly told Kol Barama Radio yesterday that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon promised Gafni and other haredi Knesset members this week that no haredim will be forced to serve in the IDF against their will.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon
Defense Minister To Haredim: Don’t Worry, You Will Never Be Drafted Against Your Will, Law Or No Law, High Court Or No High Court
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Member of Knesset Rabbi Moshe Gafni of the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party allegedly told Kol Barama Radio yesterday morning that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon promised Gafni and other haredi Knesset members this week that no haredim will be forced to serve in the IDF against their will, Yeshiva World reported.
Gafni said Ya’alon promised them that even when the new draft law fully takes effect in three years and the haredi community will have to meet draft quotas, no Israeli administration will force haredim to serve in the IDF and no haredi yeshiva students will be drafted against their will.
Ya’alon reportedly told the haredi MKs that there would never be a situation involving the draft that would involve violence or the need for haredim who do not want to serve to suffer. Haredi yeshiva students will not need to have mesirat nefesh (self-sacrifice, usually for God) to stay out of the military, Ya’alon allegedly said – meaning haredim who disobey the law will not be imprisoned or penalized in any way.
Ya’alon – who belongs to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party – has repeatedly undermined Israel’s High Court of Justice, which ruled blanket exemptions of haredi yeshiva students from the draft were illegal. Despite that, Ya’alon has used his power as defense minister to exempt thousands of these haredi yeshiva students from the draft and has dragged his feet in responding to the High Court’s order for an explanation.
Netanyahu has supported Ya’alon’s actions, actions that in most democracies would be considered obstruction of justice.
Likud is unlikely to be able to retain power in the next election without the support of haredi political parties who are the center-right party’s only natural Knesset allies.
The new draft law is already constructed in such a way as to count ex-haredim who are now totally secular (sometimes for years already), newly observant Jews and new converts as haredim for the purpose of the haredi draft quota. It also defines haredi as someone who attended a haredi high school yeshiva even for a relatively brief time, and defines those schools broadly to include many Sefardi Shas schools that are staffed by haredim but whose students are overwhelmingly traditional or secular Sefardim and not haredim. All this has led to fears that these non-haredi Sefardim, ex-haredim, the newly observant and new converts will fill the haredi quota while actual haredim continue to dodge the draft.
While it is likely the High Court will rule that this arrangement is illegal, that case could probably not be brought until sometime in 2018 or 2019, and could take several years to resolve.
That would mean that the Knesset would be forced to write a new military draft law in 2020 or even later – meaning haredim will essentially be illegally exempted from the draft for the next 7 to 10 years.