Against the background of political machinations and debates about how to increase enlistment into national service from the ultra-Orthodox sector, almost 200 haredi men who enlisted into the state civilian service program in June gathered in Jerusalem on Thursday for their induction ceremony.

The Tal Law, passed in 2002 and which provided a legal framework for haredi men to indefinitely defer military service through full-time yeshiva study, also allowed them to enlist on a voluntary basis in one or two-year civilian-service programs, and fulfill their national service requirements in this manner.

The civilian service directorate was however only established in 2007.

Speaking at the event, director of the Civilian and National Service Administration Sar-Shalom Gerb described the program as a revolutionary success, “borne of a gradual process of dialogue and understanding with community leaders.”

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