Yishai: IDF does not want haredim in its ranks

Interior minister says he is not worried that the newly-formed national unity coalition will significantly increase number of haredim being drafted into IDF; states thousands of haredi youth waiting for call-up.

Binyamin Netanyahu and Eli Yisahi 390 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Binyamin Netanyahu and Eli Yisahi 390
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The IDF does not want haredim (ultra-Orthodox) in its ranks, Interior Minister and Shas head Eli Yishai said on Wednesday.
Therefore, he does not believe that the new national unity coalition will draw up legislation to draft significantly more haredim into the army. Shas is part of that coalition.
Under the coalition agreement signed on Tuesday, the “Tal Law” will be replaced with a Kadima-drafted, government-sponsored Basic Law, with changes suggested by the Likud, requiring all citizens to perform military or civilian service.
The two parties agreed to pass a law to ensure “equal and fair distribution of the burden of IDF service between the parts of Israel’s population” by July 31, the day the Tal Law will expire by order of the High Court of Justice.
Speaking to Army Radio, Yishai repeated a claim he has made several times recently, that there are thousands of haredim waiting to be drafted into the IDF, along with thousands of haredi reservists waiting to be called up. “The IDF does not want haredim,” he said.
The minister also said that motivation in the haredi community to join the army is increasing. “We see more and more haredi youth who want to join the army, in contrast to the secular community, where the phenomenon of draft-dodging is on the rise,” he said.
“Whoever does not learn Torah should join the army,” he said.
Yishai addressed the makeup of the new government coalition.
“Of course in elections [Kadima chairman Shaul] Mofaz would have lost a significant number of mandates,” he said. “It’s not a secret that had Kadima gone to elections it would have suffered a complete breakdown.”
Nonetheless, the Shas leader said that Israelis did not want early elections and instead wanted the main political parties to unite.
Yishai said that although the new 94- MK coalition has reinforced Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s political position, he does not feel that Shas, with 11 of those lawmakers, has lost its influence.
“Netanyahu will not give Kadima everything it wants, because he knows that in the coming elections Kadima will be gone and he will need Shas and UTJ [United Torah Judaism] again,” Yishai said.