High Court demands explanation over state's failure to draft haredim

NGOs petitioned the high court to draft haredi men from these years following the expiration of the Tal Law on August 1 2012.

August 22, 2013 20:45
1 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)

The High Court of Justice on Thursday instructed the defense minister to explain why he is not drafting haredi men of the 1994 and 1995 cohorts.

It did not, however, order an immediate draft of these men, since the state agreed to a suggestion by the justices that a freeze be imposed to the terms of the Law of the Security Services whereby someone eligible for service who is not drafted within a year of receiving their conscription orders is obligated to serve only for a limited period.

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, along with several other groups, petitioned the High Court to draft haredi men from these years, following the expiration of the Tal Law on August 1, 2012.

This law provided a legal framework for full-time yeshiva students to indefinitely postpone their military service, but this option no longer exists since the law expired.

MQG argued that more than a year has passed since the law was removed from the statute book and yet the Defense Ministry has still not drafted any haredi men except on a voluntary basis.

Hundreds of conscription notices were sent out by the ministry to haredi boys approaching the age of enlistment, but Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon decided in July to send deferral letters of at least four months to 608 haredi men who had received conscription notices and were slated for enlistment on August 18.

The decision that the current delays will not lead to a decrease in the required period of service, should widespread conscription of yeshiva students ensue, is viewed skeptically by the groups petitioning the court, since if new legislation currently making its way through the Knesset is passed, those haredi yeshiva students already served with draft orders will actually not be obligated to serve.

The court insisted, however, that between the new law and the freezing of the draftees obligations to serve, the petitioners concerns were being addressed.

The court added that compelling the conscription of all potential haredi draftees immediately would undermine the latest efforts by the government to resolve the issue.

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