ULTRA-ORTHODOX MEN walk past soldiers at the Kotel in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A bill denying draft-dodgers or deserters state-funded scholarships is expected to be put to a final vote Monday after the Knesset Finance Committee authorized it Wednesday. According to the legislation submitted by MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi), any university student who neither served in the IDF nor performed national service and did not receive an exemption will have to pay full tuition.
Nadav Shamir from the Council for Higher Education’s legal department explained that it will receive the list of draft-dodgers and deserters from the IDF and check it to make sure they don’t receive scholarships.
“Serving in the IDF is our civil and moral responsibility,” Chetboun said. “It is not right, not moral and goes against our values to give publicly-funded scholarships to draft dodgers. Criminals shouldn’t get grants from the government.”
MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beytenu) said the bill should apply to Israeli Arabs who do not perform national service, as well.
“It can’t be that they can avoid any service or contribution to society and then enjoy state subsidies,” he said.
Labor MK Michal Biran spoke out against the bill, even though she said she is against draft-dodging.
“I served in the army, but this bill is a witch hunt and is not appropriate in a democratic society,” she said. “This could lead to us not giving child allowances or other funding [to people who didn’t serve]. The way to take care of draft-dodging should be education.”
Six MKs voted in favor of the bill and two opposed, and it is expected to become law after a final vote in the plenum Monday.