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The Haredi draft outline: Increase the age of exemption

The government is currently working on a new draft law that will regulate the age-old issue of recruiting the ultra-Orthodox community. This is an issue that has now arisen in light of the High Court’s demand, and the difficulty of further rejection of the answer (such has been done for the past few years), or of the enactment of a law such as the ‘Basic Law: Talmud Torah’, which was meant to exempt Haredim almost entirely from recruitment, lies in the present time – the public mood due to the war and the question of ‘inequality in the burden’ that has been re-anticipated. Defense Minister Galant expressed this in his statement that no bill would be proposed without the approval of all the coalition parties – that is, Gantz’s “Mamlachti camp” and Sa’ar’s “new hope.” If a bill does not come up, the government budget for the Yeshiva’s will be stopped, which will undoubtedly drag the fall of the government (76 MKs, 18 of them from ultra-Orthodox parties).

Today (Tuesday), ‘Israel Hayom’ newspaper published one new clause expected to be in the new draft law – a significant increase in the age of exemption from service in the IDF. At the moment, the exemption is granted at age 26 (i.e., after 8-9 years of study in yeshiva); the new proposal is to raise the age of exemption to 35-40 area (i.e., about 20 years of yeshiva study). Of course, the main impact of the exemption age is the ability to enter the work force.

According to the reports, the proposal was submitted by the Ministry of Defense, with the goal being a warning to the ultra-Orthodox population – if someone does not enlist, he will almost certainly never be part of the work force. The ultra-Orthodox parties seem to support the proposal, as this will fortify the students who choose to study at Yeshiva in any case as a ‘pure’ group of students, supported by the state in the long run.

The publication of the proposal led to criticism by other elements in the opposition and in the coalition, especially from the Ministry of Finance, when the concern is that the warning tool will not perform its operation and will only worsen the situation of the ultra-Orthodox community. This is similar to raising the walls rather than reducing them, hoping that the increasing height will frighten the other side; but there is concern that this will only create a broader, state-based population that is a more significant burden on the economy, and that it’s failure to integrate into the Labor market prevents its presence in society and perpetuates the problem even further. To summarize the matter, it is hoped that all sides of the issue will be examined in depth and with reservations before making a final decision.

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