The Peri Committee in charge of drafting legislation to bring about
comprehensive haredi enlistment in national service convened on Monday, devoting
the majority of its session to how to select the 1,800 yeshiva students who will
be granted an exemption every year.
The outline for legislation on the
issue delineated in the coalition agreement provides for a maximum of 1,800
exemptions from national service for haredi men, in recognition of the value of
Torah study in the State of Israel.
The six-member panel is having
problems, however, creating a mechanism for selecting the yeshiva students who
will receive the exemptions.
Since the idea is to grant exemptions to the
best students, one of the proposals is to allow yeshiva deans to select them.
The committee is concerned, however, that the deans will not cooperate because
the haredi leadership is avowedly opposed to the imposition of quotas on the
number of yeshiva students able to gain exemptions.
Earlier this week it
was reported that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon – a member of the committee for
Likud – had expressed opposition to any quota whatsoever. But political sources
close to other committee members said on Monday that the quota system, an
integral part of the coalition agreement between Likud- Beytenu and Yesh Atid,
would remain in place in the draft legislation.
The committee will meet
again on Wednesday to discuss the issue of personal financial sanctions to be
levied against any yeshiva student without an exemption who refuses to perform
This is perhaps the most contentious issue, with
supporters of a strong law advocating for substantial financial penalties
against anyone refusing enlistment.
Likud has shown a strong desire to
moderate the extent of such sanctions because of its longstanding ties and
relationship with the haredi parties, who are naturally opposed to far-reaching
sanctions on their constituents.