High Court freezes some haredi conscription to IDF

Anywhere from dozens to thousands of haredim could be impacted by the ruling.

September 21, 2018 05:03
2 minute read.
Haredi demonstrations in Jerusalem August 2nd, 2018

Haredi demonstrations in Jerusalem August 2nd, 2018. (photo credit: DAVID PERLMUTTER)


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The High Court of Justice froze the process of drafting a potentially large number of haredim into the IDF who had received postponements under prior laws, but who the IDF later tried to draft.

Anywhere from dozens to thousands of haredim could be impacted by the ruling.

The High Court said on Thursday that the IDF’s move to “look back” and draft certain haredim – some of whom have reached age 25 and are married with kids since their drafting was postponed around 2012 – raised complex issues and needed to be worked out by the Knesset, not the courts.

This means that a petition brought by three haredim to block the IDF’s renewed process to draft them will likely have succeeded at the end of the day.

By delaying the issue until there is a Knesset resolution and with the Knesset busy with addressing the broader issue of drafting haredim in the IDF by December 2, the High Court decision could mean that the “look-back” draftees get a permanent exemption.

One reason is that it is highly questionable whether the Knesset will get to this issue in the coming months if at all.

The coalition may not want this issue to rock the boat in a debate that already is close to breaking apart the current coalition.
It is more likely that the coalition will sideline this issue, which only relates to the past, while trying to strike a compromise on the even bigger issue of drafting haredim in the future.

It is unclear exactly how many haredim will be impacted because it is unclear which haredim the IDF will try to draft from the thousands whose drafting process was delayed for an extended period. To date, the number has been relatively small in percentage terms.

The core of the issue dates back to 2012 with haredim who could have been drafted under the Tal Law.

The IDF made a tactical choice to delay drafting many of them until then-finance minister Yair Lapid’s much stronger law for drafting haredim passed in 2014.

It then reinitiated the process for drafting many of them. This led to the current petition to the High Court when many of the haredim objected that they were too old, had too many family obligations and that the IDF had missed a two-year deadline for seeking draftees.

The state had asked the High Court to give an interpretation between contradictory legal provisions that said the two-year deadline and the other defenses could not be used by haredim who got postponements due to unrelated political issues.

The lawyers for the three haredim, Nadav Gedlyahu and Gal Nesharim, said the law could have massive implications and that they expected to file petitions now for many other haredim to block other IDF renewed drafting processes.

Hiddush - for Freedom of Religion and Equality President Uri Regev responded saying that, “One can hope that the significance of the decision…will be that the court sent a message to the Knesset that it will not save the burning castle” where it is the Knesset’s job to do so.

Rather, the court has said to the Knesset, “Work hard and do comprehensive and meticulous work” in light of the situation in which “the issue of haredi conscription is the most grave manifestation of politicians surrendering to haredi extortion and against the national interest.”

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