Approximately 3,000 haredim were enlisted into the IDF and will begin active service by August 2013, Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbivai told Israel Radio Thursday.
The head of manpower in the IDF said that the ultra-orthodox youth who received call-up orders had previously deferred their military service for religious reasons, and that this would be the first year that thousands of haredim would be required to perform mandatory military service.
In December, a government proposal was approved to allow 1,300 haredi yeshiva students to enlist in the civilian service program as opposed to serving in the military, but was greeted with widespread outrage from IDF draft reform advocates.
The decision was enacted in order to stymie the fall-off in numbers of recruits serving in the civilian service program following the expiration of the “Tal Law” this past August. The number of active civilian service personnel currently stands at 1,450, down from 2,026 before the law expired.
The Tal Law created a legal framework for an estimated 54,000 full-time yeshiva students to indefinitely defer military service, but also established the civilian service program for haredi recruits in order to provide part of the solution to the low rate of ultra-Orthodox participation in national service programs.
Since no new legislation has been passed by the Knesset to replace the Tal Law – which was struck down by the High Court of Justice in February as unconstitutional – the 1949 Military Service Law (amended in 1986) mandating compulsory military service for all citizens reaching the age of 18 is now operative.
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.