Haredi integration ideas connect enlistment, money

Keshev c'tee proposal says that after age 23, most haredim will need to enlist in military or national service, or lose benefits.

Keshev Committee 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Keshev Committee 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Keshev Committee tasked with formulating a replacement for the Tal Law was presented on Tuesday with a possible list of carrots and sticks designed to ensure that targets for haredi enlistment into the military and national service are met.
The Tal Law, which provided a legal framework for ultra- Orthodox men to indefinitely defer military service, was ruled unconstitutional by the High Court of Justice back in February and will expire on August 1.
The model for financial incentives and penalties presented by a representative of the Finance Ministry is based on the assumption that there will be a quota for the number of “exceptional” yeshiva students who can get an exemption from military and national- service programs through full time yeshiva study.
According to the model, anyone who does not receive an exemption will be required to perform some form of national service. If they refuse, then they will be subject to financial penalties such as the cancellation of housing benefits and municipal tax breaks which many members of the haredi community receive.
The Finance Ministry is also proposing to change the method of funding so that yeshivot that encourage students to serve will receive benefits where as yeshivot whose students do not serve will lose state funds.
Personal fines may also be imposed, the size of which will be determined by the amount of support the state provided to a yeshiva on behalf of the student in question.
According to the model, the numbers of those serving and not serving will be examined at the beginning of each yearly intake to military and national service. If pre-arranged recruitment targets are met, then those remaining in yeshiva will be included in the quota for those receiving exemptions from national service.
If the recruitment quotas for a specific intake are not met, those who were not granted an exemption will be subject to the range of possible penalties.
In 2011, there were approximately 54,000 full-time yeshiva students exempted from military service through the provisions of the Tal Law.
According to the Finance Ministry’s model, yeshiva students will be able to defer their service until age 23, after which they will have to serve.
Students will be provided with the opportunity to declare their intention to serve before they that time, and will receive significant incentives to do so.
The choice of which form of service to select will be taken at age 22 and service will begin at age 23.
The Finance Ministry also proposed the opening of new IDF and civilian service tracks for the haredi sector, which would allow recruits to maintain their lifestyle and strict observance of Jewish law while serving the country.