Recruitment crisis: Where are we headed now?


Almost a day has passed since the dramatic ruling of the High Court of Justice, which ordered the state to immediately begin recruiting haredim who receive an exemption based on the principle of “their art theory,” in accordance with the needs of the army (currently at least three thousand soldiers), and to stop funding meetings with students who enjoy this exemption, And the political implications have not yet been clarified – especially when the ultra-Orthodox MKs did their best to avoid statements that might suggest that they intend to bring about the government’s dissolution soon.

Two steps have been taken since the verdict, which has made it more decisive and powerful: First, the legal advisor at Rabbi Miera issued an opinion (on the verge of ordering) to the government to act actively in accordance with the High Court’s ruling. At the same time, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Yuli Edelstein, who is currently busy formulating a new draft law, drew a line with Defense Minister Yoav Galant in his determination that a draft law could only be passed with broad agreement – that is, support from some opposition parties. Does the opposition have a greater interest in promoting a draft law, or in bringing about a crisis in the coalition in the absence of such a law? Time will tell, but in the meantime, the coalition seems to have to concentrate on broad agreements within it – with at least 10 of its 64 members expressing opposition to the draft law in its current form (according to the law that was formulated during the previous government’s days).

It is difficult to see how the ultra-Orthodox parties will manage to deal with a more stringent draft law than it is today, on the one hand, with the cessation of budgeting for meetings (which will take effect from the beginning of next year – i.e., Elul, in two months) on the other hand, and with the mobilization of three thousand yeshiva members immediately from a third party. However, it is clear that the haredim will not achieve a coalition more sympathetic to their goals than the one they currently have. In the past day, there has been an interim proposal – the ultra-Orthodox will leave the government, but not the coalition. It is difficult to see how such a constellation will last for long, and in the present state, it is difficult to see how the government will hold on at all.

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