Ya’alon proposal rejected by draft reform activists (JERUSALEM POST) By JEREMY SHARON 07/24/12)
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Haredi politicians and campaigners for ultra- Orthodox enlistment
draft reform heavily criticized Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe
Ya’alon’s outline for drafting haredi men into the army, which he
presented on Monday.
Ya’alon’s plan seeks to raise the number of haredim enlisting in the
IDF or doing national service from the current 2,400 to 6,000 by
2016, and lower the age of exemption from 28 to 26. The goal for Arab
civilian service in 2016 is 5,000, more than double the current
amount – 2,400.
In response to the proposals made public on Sunday, Idan Miller, a
leading activist for military draft reform, called the
proposal “surrender” to the haredi coalition parties, and threatened
that Defense Minister Ehud Barak will face “an intifada of High Court
petitions” if he does not draft haredi men on August 1 when the “Tal
The Tal Law has, since 2002, provided the legal framework for full-
time yeshiva students to indefinitely postpone military service. When
it expires, the 1949 Law for Security Service – which mandates
compulsory military service for all citizens reaching the age of 18 –
will go into effect.
“In another nine days, when the Tal Law will depart from this world...
the defense minister will be obligated to draft every Jewish citizen
who reaches age of 18,” Miller said. “If he doesn’t act in accordance
with the law, then he’ll have to deal with an intifada of High Court
petitions that will force the government to do what is morally and
Although Shas has not responded to Ya’alon’s proposal, a source
within the party told The Jerusalem Post last week that the party was
concerned about such a situation, and considers the potential legal
vacuum a serious problem.
Last week, Barak said that in light of the failure to replace the Tal
Law, the draft would be widened in August to include haredi men “on
the basis of preparatory work done by the IDF over the past year to
prepare for increased haredi enlistment,” which was requested by the
The Council for Military Service Equality, a leading campaign group,
said on Monday that the Camp Sucker movement as a whole would be
relocating its encampment to the offices of the Defense Ministry on
They will demand that all 17-year-old haredi boys be sent their draft
orders, as will be required by law on August 1, and that all yeshiva
students who have until now been exempt from national service under
the provisions of the Tal Law be drafted within a year.
The group called Ya’alon’s proposal “worse than the Tal Law,” and
said that it was “a disgrace to see a former IDF chief of staff sell
out those who serve for the sake of an inexplicable swindle with the
Meanwhile, senior haredi MK Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism
expressed opposition to all legislation that would change the status
of yeshiva students in any way.
“Those who study Torah are the guardians of the Jewish people and the
ones who maintain the existence of the world,” he told haredi daily
Yated Ne’eman on Monday. “Any attempt to entice those who study Torah
to stop learning will encounter a wall of opposition from haredi
Former head of the IDF Manpower Directorate Maj.-Gen. (res.) Elazar
Stern called Ya’alon’s draft “a joke,” specifically referring to the
proposal that haredi men be allowed to postpone service till age 26.
He said that by this age the overwhelming majority of ultra-Orthodox
men are married with children, which would create a huge financial
burden for the IDF if it were to draft them – due to subsidies the
army provides by law to recruits with families.
Stern added that such recruits would not be able to participate fully
in the IDF due to family obligations.
Hiddush, a lobbying group for religious freedom, said that Ya’alon’s
proposal reflected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to
choose his “anti-Zionist haredi partners over the majority of the
“The Ya’alon proposal is simply Tal Law 2.0, that is, a program which
will see a continuation of draft dodging and discrimination.
History will not forget the coalition partners who betrayed those who
bear the burden of military service and, hopefully, neither will the
electorate,” said Hiddush director Uri Regev. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 07/24/12)
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