Litzman: We will roll back measures against haredi community from last government

Head of United Torah Judaism, MK Yaakov Litzman, hopes to revoke the clause requiring haredi men to serve in the IDF.

Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
United Torah Judaism chairman MK Ya’acov Litzman said on Thursday that the party would seek to reverse many of the measures enacted by the last government that reduced budgets and other benefits enjoyed by the haredi community.
Litzman said the party would also work to revoke the haredi conscription law passed by the last government and forced through by Yesh Atid that made military service for haredi men obligatory.
The haredi leadership loathed the reforms Yesh Atid undertook and said throughout the election campaign that they would reverse them if they form part of the next coalition, as seems likely.
“We will talk about religious issues, child allowances, basic goods, housing, yeshiva budgets, and we’ll also talk about ministerial portfolios,” Litzman told Ynet on Thursday in regard to what UTJ will demand in coalition negotiations.
“I imagine we will request the Health Ministry and the Knesset Finance Committee,” he added.
Litzman previously served as deputy health minister and said he would request the same portfolio again, while senior UTJ MK Moshe Gafni will seek the chairmanship of the Knesset Finance Committee.
Litzman also said that the clause in the law for haredi conscription requiring fulltime haredi yeshiva students to perform military service should be changed.
“Clearly we need to remove [this requirement]. It’s an embarrassment that in the State of Israel that there is this clause and it should be removed as soon as possible,” he said.
The haredi leadership and community refer to the clause in the new law requiring full-time yeshiva students of military age to perform military or national service as the “criminal sanctions clause,” since the penalty for refusing military service for all Jewish men, including haredi men, is up to two years in military prison.
“In everything [Yesh Atid chairman Yair] Lapid did he sought to target the haredim and clearly we need to fix these things without doubt.”
Litzman also called the package of health reforms agreed upon under the auspices of former health minister and Yesh Atid MK Yael German “a total failure,” saying he would abolish 80 percent of them.