Shas officials said Wednesday that the only plan which it is discussing with
Likud Beytenu for increasing haredi national service enlistment is the Kandel
Plan, noting that no significant progress had been made in recent
Reports on Wednesday indicated that Likud Beytenu and Bayit Yehudi
were devising a new program that would also be acceptable to Yesh Atid.
Shas source said, however, that the Kandel Plan was the only one currently on
the table. He added that little progress has been made in the negotiations, and
that the last meeting that took place between the two sides was on Friday where
Shas presented its reservations and amendments to the plan.
Plan, drafted by the chairman of the National Economic Council in the Prime
Minister’s Office, Prof. Eugene Kandel, would set an annual target of 60-65
percent enlistment of haredi men between the ages of 18 and 24 five years from
Crucially, it does not include quotas for the number of yeshiva
students able to gain exemptions from national service, as demanded by Yesh Atid
and draft reform campaigners, but provides incentives and financial sanctions to
On Wednesday, haredi news website Ladaat reported that
the plan includes the establishment of a biometric registration system for
yeshiva students, which would be required to log entry and exit into the
There are approximately 45,000 haredi yeshiva students
registered as being in full-time study programs in lieu of military service, but
it is believed that many thousands among them do not fulfill their
Haredi politicians frequently say on the
issue that students not complying with their obligations should enlist in some
form of national service, although it is unclear if they would agree to such a
rigorous registration system.
The haredi spiritual and political
leadership is extremely concerned with current developments and fear that their
demands will be ignored because of political pressure on Likud Beytenu and the
A senior source within Yesh Atid told The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday that in the current situation, it looks as if the prime minister
will be forced to abandon the haredi parties, at least in the meantime, in order
to get Yesh Atid into the coalition.
In the influential Yated Ne’eman
newspaper on Wednesday, spiritual leader of the haredi world Rabbi Aharon Leib
Shteinman called on all yeshiva students to undertake a continuous and intensive
study program over the next five days, and to be particularly stringent in the
observance of the Sabbath and other commandments, in order “to avert the decrees
which they wish to impose, to remove yeshivas from the Jewish people.”
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