The government claims haredi IDF enlistment target is reportedly being met (although objectively this is far from clear). But it also says haredi enlistment in the civilian national service, an alternative to military service haredim are allowed to take while most other Israelis are not, is well below the government-set target – less than 20% of that target, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee heard today.
Haredi IDF Draft Targets Met, Government Claims, But Not Targets For Haredi Enlistment In The Civilian National Service
Shmarya Rosenberg • Failedmessiah.com
The Ministry of Defense claims the haredi IDF enlistment target is being met (although objectively this is far from clear). But it also says haredi enlistment in the civilian national service, an alternative to military service haredim are allowed to take while most other Israelis are not, is well below the government-set target – less than 20% of that target, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee heard today, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Haredi targets for the IDF were met – but only under the exceedingly broad definition of haredi the government uses for this purpose. A more realistic estimate for actual haredi IDF enlistment might only be half of the numbers the government claims.
40% of the target number for overall haredi enlistment was supposed to be met by haredim joining the civilian national service. But even under that same very broad definition of haredi used by the government, nowhere near that number has enlisted.
• In 2013, 1,858 “haredi” men enlisted in the IDF. The target enlistment number was 1,800. The real number of actual haredim who enlisted was likely below 900.
• In 2014, 2,280 “haredi” men enlisted in the IDF. The target was 2,300. The real number of actual haredim who enlisted was likely closer to 1,100.
• In 2013, 802 “haredi” men joined the civilian nation service. The target was 1,300.
• In 2014, 747 “haredi” men joined the civilian service. The target was 1,500.
• So far in 2015, only 339 “haredi” men have joined the civilian national service. The target was 1,800 – less than 20% of the target.
In 2014, the government gave 30,000 haredi men aged 22 to 26 immediate exemptions from all IDF and national service. The exemptions – most of which didn’t come into effect until this year – absolved haredim from all military or national service and was tied to the then-new draft law that was for the first time set to compel haredim to serve in the IDF like all other Jewish Israelis do. The exemptions were supposed to make the law less “coercive,” and thereby cause more haredim to enlist. It didn’t work.
That law is now being amended due to a deal made with haredi parties by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party that traded haredi support for Netanyahu’s premiership for the weakening of the draft law. The amendment pushes off the haredi draft by another three years and delays other implementation – including any criminal penalties for draft dodging haredim – so that most haredim won’t face a serious military or civilian national service draft until the next decade at the earliest. That amendment gives the Defense Minister – currently Moshe Ya’alon of the Likud Party – the authority to implement a compulsory draft of haredi men if haredi targets are not met. But Ya’alon is unlikely to use this option except in times o f extreme national emergency.
All other Jewish Israelis must serve in the IDF except Zionist Orthodox women, who can choose civilian national service instead. But a large and rapidly growing number of those Zionist Orthodox women choose to serve in the IDF anyway. The only outlier in the Jewish community are haredim. Haredi men regularly dodge the draft while haredi women have no legal obligation at all to serve in the IDF or in the civilian national service.