Haredi and IDF soldier Tal law Jerusalem 390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
The government will try to pass a law on increasing haredi enlistment in the IDF
by August 15, the state declared Thursday in a response to the High Court of
The state’s declaration came as a result of petitions to the
High Court calling for the immediate drafting of the approximately 40,000
yeshiva students who are no longer legally exempted from military
In light of the deliberations in the Knesset, the state asked
that all requests to the High Court on the matter be postponed until after the
August 15 deadline.
The so-called “Tal Law,” which was enacted in 2002,
allowed full-time yeshiva students to indefinitely postpone their military
service. However, following the law’s expiration on July 31, 2012, the only
operative law regarding military service for yeshiva students is that which
applies to all other Jewish Israelis, the Law for the Security Services 1986,
which stipulates mandatory army service for everyone of the appropriate
The state has claimed, however, that it does not need to draft
yeshiva students at this stage since legislation on the issue is currently
making its way through the Knesset, albeit in a gradual manner.
pointed out on Thursday that the cabinet and the Ministerial Committee for
Legislation approved a bill to draft haredim into the army by 2017 on
The bill is now expected to have its first reading in the Knesset
next Wednesday after which it will pass to a special committee headed by Bayit
Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked for further deliberation.
Meanwhile, a response
by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to High Court petitions calling for the
immediate conscription of haredi yeshiva students has raised suspicions that
military orders sent out to haredi yeshiva students at the beginning of the year
may be rescinded.
The attorney general’s response to the High Court’s
request for an update indicates that the Defense Ministry is considering
postponing the conscription of those who received conscription orders until
after a new law is passed by the Knesset.
Activist groups expressed anger
on Thursday that, in effect, this would mean that the yeshiva students who
received conscription orders would be able to avoid service altogether. This is
because anyone aged 18 and over on the day the new legislation currently being
devised for haredi enlistment is passed will be able to ultimately gain a full
exemption under the terms of the new law, since mandatory enlistment will only
be implemented under that law in 2017.
“In accordance with plans for
[haredi] enlistment, thousands of [military] orders were sent calling yeshiva
students for the years 1994 and 1995 to present themselves for military service,
with the first of these conscripts supposed to present themselves on August 18
this year,” Weinstein wrote.
“In light of the current situation, the new
draft legislation substantially changes the legal position of the issue, and the
possibility of deferring the date for [the soldiers called to service] to
present them for enlistment is being weighed.
“The enlistment of these
students at this stage is not commensurate with the draft government bill.”
Attorney Uri Regev, the director of the religious-freedom lobbying group
Hiddush, condemned the state’s position.
“The announcement by the state
illustrates the government’s desire to pass a law for equality in the burden of
military service without equality in the burden of military service,” said