Leaders of the grassroots Camp Sucker movement on Sunday requested a meeting
with Shas leaders Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Arye Deri in what can be interpreted as
a desperate attempt to convince the two decision-makers of the importance of
broadening the base of IDF inductees.
Shas has been a main obstacle for
the Camp Sucker movement, insisting that many haredim (ultra- Orthodox) should
not be drafted into the IDF, but rather should be permitted to pursue religious
“Even if they think we’re being naive, we will strive to leave
no stone unturned,” Camp Sucker leaders Idan Miller and Boaz Nol
“If Shas will agree to mend the rift that has been growing in
Israeli society, and to adopt a formula that would allow for a law drafting all,
the coming elections will be held in a completely different light,” they said in
a joint statement.
The Camp Sucker movement is led primarily by the Forum
for Military Service Equality (Forum La’shivyon Ba’netel). The group has led
many demonstrations around the country in protest of what it views as
discrimination against those who serve in the IDF, in the past going so far as
to erect protest camps in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
In its press statement,
the movement also criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his failure
to implement a more equitable law regulating IDF draft policies.
Law,” which provided the legal framework for haredi men to defer IDF service
indefinitely, was ruled unconstitutional by the High Court of Justice in
February, prompting the prime minister to promise he would find an alternative
which would more equally distribute the national burden.
promised us, in front of the entire nation, that he would take responsibility
for increasing equality in the IDF draft process,” the group said.
stood at the head of a coalition boasting 94 Knesset members, and he was fully
capable of making the changes. But instead he chose to break his promise in
order to avoid conflict with Shas.”
Toward the end of last month, the
movement pitched its tents in front of the Likud central committee in Tel Aviv
in protest of the ruling party’s inaction on the issue.
from the Sunday’s meeting request was Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who
technically retains Shas’s first spot on the party list. The minister has been a
favorite target for attacks by Camp Sucker leaders, who have criticized him for
torpedoing egalitarian legislation on the IDF draft policy. Yishai, who himself
served in the army, as did his children, has said that he is in favor of
drafting only haredi men not studying in yeshiva.
The meeting ended with
a direct and personal appeal to Shas leaders Deri and Yosef. “We believe fully
that the security and unity of the State of Israel is an issue close to your
hearts, it is to ours.
“We are sure that the current situation, in which
part of the nation shirks its responsibility in the public burden, bothers you
just as it bothers us,” they said.