'Camp Sucker' protests haredi draft to civil service

Movement leaders renew tents protest in Tel Aviv, accuse Netanyahu of favoring haredim interests over public interests.

Camp Sucker 370 (photo credit: Courtesy: The Campaign for the Struggle for Equali)
Camp Sucker 370
(photo credit: Courtesy: The Campaign for the Struggle for Equali)
The Camp Sucker movement, which favors universal army service, will pitch its tents again at Tel Aviv's Arlozorov train station on Monday morning to protest government decision to draft 1,300 yeshiva students to civilian service instead of army service.
"This is another populist move by Netanyahu to please Shas instead of safeguarding public interest," movement leaders Boaz Nol and Idan Miller said in a statement.
The government's Sunday decision hoped to stymie the fall-off in numbers of recruits serving in the civilian service program following the expiration of the “Tal Law” this past August.
The "Tal Law" created a legal framework for full-time yeshiva students to indefinitely defer military service, but also established the civilian service program for haredi recruits in order to provide part of the solution to the low rate of ultra-Orthodox participation in national service programs. The expiration of the law means that yeshiva students can no longer legally defer their military service and enlist in civilian service programs.
According to the Civilian Service Directorate, dozens of haredi men who have applied to the program since August have been turned away each month because of the recruitment freeze.
But Nol and Miller, who are running for Knesset with The Tzipi Livni Party, are furious with the fact the decision essentially gives exemption to full-time yeshiva students and encourages haredi draft evasion.
"[Netanyahu] continues to disregard all of us; hundreds of thousands who signed the petition calling for equality in shouldering national burden, and tens of thousands who came to protest," they said.
The 'Camp Sucker' movement also criticized Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who has promised in the past to promote equality in the burden of military service.
"Every day that passes by, the government makes more and more civilians into suckers. These are good people, who love the country and want to continue contributing in any way they can, but cannot remain quiet anymore in light of this continuing injustice," Nol and Miller added.
The Camp Sucker movement is led primarily by the Forum for Military Service Equality (Forum La’shivyon Ba’netel). The group has led many demonstrations around the country in protest of what it views as discrimination against those who serve in the IDF, including erecting protest camps in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Jeremy Sharon and Yoni Dayan contributed to this report.