Gov't to review proposal to ease haredi draft exemptions

State Attorney’s Office says government informed that the implementation of the decision has been postponed to November 21.

Haredi Soldiers 311 (photo credit: YAAKOV KATZ)
Haredi Soldiers 311
(photo credit: YAAKOV KATZ)
The government will rethink its July decision to make it much easier for haredi men to obtain exemptions from military service, following High Court petitions submitted by Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality, and the Movement for Quality Government.
The cabinet decision, which was buried among dozens of other proposals, would have enabled every yeshiva student, from the age of 22, to perform a year of civilian service instead of joining the IDF, with the approval of the Defense Ministry, and the military would not be able to draft them, as is currently the case.
Until now, only married haredi men with children have been eligible for that privilege, while unmarried or childless men who left their Torah studies could opt for civilian service over the military only at age 26. The decision came as part of the government’s attempts to promote employment within the haredi sector, and was proposed by the Finance Ministry as part of the economic arrangements bill accompanying the 2011-2012 state budget.
In a preliminary answer to the court submitted on Monday, the State Attorney’s Office said that the government had been informed that the implementation of the decision has been postponed to November 21. Before then, the cabinet will hold a discussion on the topic, based on the recommendations to be filed by Prime Minister’s Office director-general Eyal Gabai on the manner in which the Defense Ministry will decide who might be liable for the exemption.
Hiddush and the Movement for Quality Government had separately petitioned the High Court of Justice against the cabinet decision in August, and the court decided that it would debate both petitions together.
Hiddush on Monday night called on the government “to make Gabai’s recommendations public enough time before the government’s meeting on the topic, in order to enable a public debate on a matter of such importance, to let the ministers form their opinions in due time and prevent a scenario where the public finds itself surprised once again.”