Anti-corruption NGO asks court to revisit petition on haredi draft

High Court canceled petition by Movement for Quality Government demanding that state immediately begin drafting ultra-Orthodox.

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June 17, 2013 19:40
2 minute read.
Haredi demonstration against IDF enlistment legislation in Jerusalem, May 16, 2013

Haredi demonstration against IDF enlistment legislation 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, a watchdog group, has submitted an urgent request to the High Court of Justice to re-examine its decision to cancel a hearing on the organization’s petition to begin drafting the approximately 40,000 yeshiva students who are no longer legally exempted from military service.

A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday but the court informed MQG that it was cancelling the session because of ongoing legislative efforts to address the issue in Knesset.

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The Tal Law, which was enacted in 2002, allowed full time yeshiva students to indefinitely postpone their military service.
But following the expiration of the Tal Law on July 31, 2012, the only operative law regarding military service for yeshiva students is that which applies to all other Jewish Israelis of military age, the Law for the Security Services 1986, which stipulates mandatory military service for everyone of military age.

The state has claimed however that it need not draft yeshiva students at this stage since legislation is currently making its way through the Knesset to address the issue, albeit in a gradual manner.

MQG insists that the ongoing legislative process to form a legal arrangement for the conscription of haredi yeshiva students does not provide cover for the failure to begin drafting them or at least initiate a partial draft.

The High Court was scheduled to hear the petition on Tuesday following a court’s issuance of an interim injunction against the Minister of Defense in November 2012 to explain why yeshiva students were not being drafted.

“Tens of thousands of citizens who are obligated to perform military service according to the law are currently de facto exempt from any military service because the Minister of Defense, in contravention of the law, is not calling them to perform [military] service,” MQG said in a statement to the media.

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“The cancellation of the hearing on the petition provides extra time in which the law will be broken, until MQG will find itself in facing a fait accompli which is discriminatory, illegal, and severely injures the basic rights of the public which bears the yoke of the state’s security.” 

The organization pointed out that it was only two years after the Tal Committee made its recommendations for legal arrangements for haredi yeshiva students regarding military service that a law was passed in Knesset based on its proposals.

The Peri Committee issued its recommendations for achieving mandatory enlistment for haredi yeshiva students in May. It proposes that obligatory national service be brought in for this sector by 2017, and sets rising targets for haredi enlistment in the interim period. 

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