Har Bracha students petition High Court

Har Bracha students peti

Sixty-three Har Bracha Yeshiva students petitioned the High Court of Justice on Friday against Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision to remove the institute from the hesder arrangement with the IDF, under which men serve 16 months in the army and spend close to four years studying in yeshiva. Barak's decision in mid-December came after the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, refused to retract statements he had made supporting insubordination in the army under certain circumstances. "The defense minister's decision is devoid of a legal basis and was made out of political considerations," reads the petition. It claims that the students are being collectively punished and being made to pay the price of a personal feud between Melamed and Barak. As a result of Barak's decision, some 150 students at Har Bracha who are in various stages of a five-year program combining military service with Torah studies will be forced to either transfer to another hesder yeshiva or serve a full three years of active duty in the IDF. Although the IDF gave Har Bracha students a two-month extension to move to other hesder yeshivot, the petition claims that the request for the students to find other places to study was "causing them immediate and serious harm." The petitioners, including three students due to be drafted into the IDF in 10 days, further claimed that since the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee had not ratified the decision, Barak had no legal authority to make such a ruling.