Brig.-Gen. Gadi Agmon of the IDF’s manpower directorate presented proposals to the Keshev committee for combined IDF service and Torah study that are similar in style to the hesder program for national-religious men. Hesder recruits typically study Torah for three and a half years and serve in the IDF for 18 months.
Committee chairman Yohanan Plesner stated during the hearing that leaders within the haredi (ultra- Orthodox) community had expressed support to him for IDF tracks along these lines, and that there was demand for them within haredi yeshivot.
Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz was also in attendance at Sunday’s Keshev committee hearing, and said that the enlistment of more manpower from the ultra-Orthodox sector would save the army a great deal of money because for every enlisted battalion established, 18 to 19 reserve battalions can be stood down.
Mofaz added that the state should provide greater reward for those who serve in IDF combat units and do reserve duty, including tax credits and state support for educational and business purposes.
“What we are talking about [in this committee] is the formulation of a new social contract that will strengthen the social and national strength of Israel,” Mofaz said during the hearing.
“A great responsibility rests with you – you have the full authority and backing to get to the correct and proper result... the principle of equality [in the share of the military burden] and one law for everybody.”