Yohanan Plesner at Keshev C'tee press conference 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Keshev Committee chairman Yohanan Plesner presented his recommendations that 80 percent of ultra-Orthodox participate in national and military service within four years, and that personal sanctions be imposed on those who do not serve. The report was the result of work performed by the now-defunct Keshev Committee that was charged with finding a replacement for the Tal Law.
Although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dismissed the Plesner committee earlier this week after a number of its members quit in protest of various issues, sources close to Netanyahu said Tuesday that he would nonetheless use its recommendations as the basis for a new law.
The main issue creating political tensions was the condition that those who fail to perform either civil or military service face personal sanctions, something that was ultimately included in the report's recommendations.
The report recommends applying a principle of "service for all," which would apply to the ultra-Orthodox haredi population and later to the Israeli-Arab population. It set a goal of 80 percent haredi participation in either national or military service by 2016.
While offering several tracks of service for haredi men, the report recommends that service be defined as a personal responsibility, and that failing to complete it result in criminal proceedings and/or a fine and the loss of potential government benefits.
Haredi men who fail to complete either military or civil service by the age of 23 will lose their eligibility for stipends that kollel students receive. Likewise, they would lose property tax and housing benefits.
The report further suggests limiting the number of haredi men who can receive "permanent [student]" exemptions from civil or military service.
In addition, it contains a recommendation to shorten the service required of haredi men to 24 months. Currently, men are required to serve three years in the IDF. A civil service track would be shortened to 18 months.Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.