Panel on haredi draft debates granting exemptions

Peri Committee debates how to select the 1,800 yeshiva students who will be granted an exemption every year.

April 30, 2013 02:46
1 minute read.
Haredi man and IDF soldiers walk in Jerusalem

Haredi and IDF soldier Tal law Jerusalem 390. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)

The Peri Committee in charge of drafting legislation to bring about comprehensive haredi enlistment in national service convened on Monday, devoting the majority of its session to how to select the 1,800 yeshiva students who will be granted an exemption every year.

The outline for legislation on the issue delineated in the coalition agreement provides for a maximum of 1,800 exemptions from national service for haredi men, in recognition of the value of Torah study in the State of Israel.

The six-member panel is having problems, however, creating a mechanism for selecting the yeshiva students who will receive the exemptions.

Since the idea is to grant exemptions to the best students, one of the proposals is to allow yeshiva deans to select them. The committee is concerned, however, that the deans will not cooperate because the haredi leadership is avowedly opposed to the imposition of quotas on the number of yeshiva students able to gain exemptions.

Earlier this week it was reported that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon – a member of the committee for Likud – had expressed opposition to any quota whatsoever. But political sources close to other committee members said on Monday that the quota system, an integral part of the coalition agreement between Likud- Beytenu and Yesh Atid, would remain in place in the draft legislation.

The committee will meet again on Wednesday to discuss the issue of personal financial sanctions to be levied against any yeshiva student without an exemption who refuses to perform national service.

This is perhaps the most contentious issue, with supporters of a strong law advocating for substantial financial penalties against anyone refusing enlistment.

Likud has shown a strong desire to moderate the extent of such sanctions because of its longstanding ties and relationship with the haredi parties, who are naturally opposed to far-reaching sanctions on their constituents.

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