A poll conducted for the Hiddush religious-freedom lobbying group by the Rafi Smith Institute found that 61 percent of the population was opposed to postponing the implementation of obligatory haredi enlistment until 2017, as will be proposed by government legislation.
The coalition agreement between Likud Beytenu and Yesh Atid calls for the enactment of mandatory haredi enlistment by 2017, with targets for haredi recruits set for the interim years.
Between now and 2017, the state will set increasing targets for enlistment of haredi men between the ages of 18 and 21 in both the IDF and civilian service, starting at 3,300 in 2013 and rising to 5,600 by 2016.
Proponents of the government plans, being drawn up by a ministerial committee, argue that the IDF needs time to prepare for a large influx of recruits who have very specific requirements with regards to the conditions of their service, such as kashrut, the absence of female instructors and similar constraints.
According to the Hiddush poll, 82% of Yesh Atid voters believe that obligatory service should be implemented immediately, “in accordance with the IDF’s capabilities, with only 15% supporting the deferment of such a requirement to 2017.
The poll was conducted on April 10, with a sample of 500 people from the Jewish adult population.
The survey asked, “According to the coalition agreement, mandatory service for yeshiva students will begin in another four years, and not immediately. There are those that claim this is crucial to allow for [appropriate] organization, and there are others that claim the postponement will stymie implementation of the reform altogether.”
Respondents were asked if they support the postponement, think that obligatory service be implemented immediately in accordance with the IDF’s capabilities, or oppose the drafting of yeshiva students altogether.
Hiddush director and Reform Rabbi Uri Regev said that the poll showed the public wanted haredim to perform national service and wished to see the obligation implemented immediately
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!