State requests seven-month extension for haredi enlistment bill

The High Court struck down the previous arrangement in September 2017 as discriminatory, and gave the Knesset 12 months to pass a new law.

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July 15, 2018 19:16
1 minute read.
Haredi men gather in Jerusalem for the funeral of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach

Haredi men gather in Jerusalem for the funeral of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach . (photo credit: EHUD AMITON/TPS)

The government has formally requested that the High Court of Justice allow a seven-month extension to the deadline the court had set to pass a law for haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment by September.

The draft bill has faced strong opposition from Agudat Yisrael, one half of the United Torah Judaism Knesset faction, which strongly opposes the financial sanctions clause in the legislation, and the end of the Knesset summer session this week means the Knesset is out of time to pass a new law before the September deadline.

Yisrael Beytenu strongly opposes removing the financial sanctions clause, which means that obtaining an extension from the High Court is critical for the government to avoid a coalition crisis that could potentially topple it.

It is unclear if the court will accept the extension request or not, but it will likely not wish to see the chaotic situation that would be created if the current law expires in September when all haredi men of military age would be required by law to serve, and liable to arrest by military police if they did not enlist.

The High Court struck down the previous arrangement in September 2017 as discriminatory, and gave the Knesset 12 months to pass a new law.

The government tarried, however, and a Defense Ministry special committee only presented a draft bill this June, which includes enlistment targets and financial sanctions against the general yeshiva budget if the targets are not met.

Although Shas and Degel Hatorah – the other half of the United Torah Judaism Knesset faction – are discreetly in favor of the bill due to its moderate terms and delayed implementation of the financial sanctions by three years, Agudat Yisrael has expressed severe opposition to the very notion of financial sanctions.



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