A week away from the expiration of the Tal Law, the IDF has yet to receive
instructions from the Defense Ministry regulating ultra-Orthodox military
According to a High Court decision in February, the Tal Law
will expire on August 1. While the government has been trying to draft a new
bill, it has yet to present one in the plenum, making it unlikely that a new law
will be passed into legislation by next Wednesday.
Due to the legislative
lacuna that will be created, the ultimate decision on drafting haredi youth will
fall into the hands of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Under Israel’s 1986
Defense Service Law, all 18-year-olds are obligated to enlist in the IDF, except
for those who receive exemptions from the defense minister.
waiting to see if a new law is passed and if it is not then [we will wait] to
receive instructions about the new draft guidelines,” explained a senior IDF
officer, involved in the draft process.
Barak will have the authority to
order the IDF Human Resources Department to issue draft orders to all haredim
who have not yet served in the IDF and are still of eligible age. If that
happens and the orders are ignored, the IDF would then have the authority to
arrest the haredi draft dodgers.
Alternatively, Barak could also decide
to exempt haredim from service, an unlikely move considering the political price
it would entail for the defense minister.
“This is a complicated
situation and the best scenario is that a new law is passed,” the officer
The Military Advocate-General’s Office is expecting to face a
series of petitions to the High Court of Justice against the inequality starting
August 1 from secular and national-religious youth who are slated to begin their
Sources in the Military Advocate-General’s office explained that
while the petitions would likely be filed, no haredi youth are slated to be
drafted on August 1, and regardless it would take time to carry out the entire
enlistment process, which usually begins at least a year prior to a soldier’s
Meanwhile Wednesday, the Defense Ministry announced
that on Thursday it will draft around 200 youth into the Netzah Yehuda
Battalion, also known as Nahal Haredi. The ministry said that it will constitute
the largest draft into the unit since it was established some 12 years ago and
is a 33 percent increase in draftees since the last draft.