Petition targets draft dodgers looking for work

Signatory says recent gov't actions to stigmatize evaders, mandate national service aren't enough.

ivri lider 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
ivri lider 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In an atmosphere of increasing hostility toward those who avoid serving in the IDF, a petition being championed by various industrialists, high tech entrepreneurs and social activists is calling for Israeli industry to discriminate against draft dodgers looking for employment, Army Radio reported on Thursday. "We who worry about the future of Israeli society, its values and unity, are committed to employing those who contributed to society for a significant period of time, and rejecting (save in exceptional situations) young men and women who did not serve in the army or another meaningful framework of service for Israeli society," the petition reads. Hilik Tropper, one of the petition's signatories, told Army Radio that despite recent initiatives by the political echelon, the public needed to become more active in restoring the stigmatization of draft evaders. "The government indeed does have a large role in the matter. However, we are trying to return the ball to the public's court," he said. "The public needs to make it clear that evasion of military or other national service is unacceptable." Last week, Shlomo Buhbut, deputy chair of the Union of Local Authorities and mayor of Ma'alot-Tarshiha, made a similar proposal, calling upon local municipalities to refrain from hiring people who did not serve in the army, with the exception of those who were legally exempted. On Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Prime Minister's Office was considering publishing a blacklist of performing artists who did not serve in the IDF so that local councils would know not to hire them for official celebration events. The prime minister's adviser for social affairs, Vered Swid, told the Post that she had been urging mayors nationwide "to take affirmative action on behalf of artists who had served their country" and that the suggestion had been accepted by every local council head she had contacted. Meanwhile, on Sunday an Authority for National Service was created by the government in order to channel youth who do not serve in the army to voluntary positions for one or two years. Under the new policy, those who opt to do national service will, like the religious girls who now often do one to two years of national service, receive a monthly stipend equivalent to what non-combat soldiers receive, as well as a grant when they finish their service. Shelly Paz and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.