Israel – The government approved on Sunday the enlistment of 1,300 yeshiva students for civilian service and officially recognized the move as an alternative to serving in the IDF.
The proposal is meant as a compromise with the religious community and an interim solution to offset a deficiency in volunteers following the expiration of the Tal Law four months ago, which allowed haredim to indefinitely defer their military service.
The move has outraged draft reform campaigners, who say it is an illegal exemption since the civilian service was established by the committee of the Tal Law, which the High Court ruled to be illegal in February.
The new arrangement, jointly devised by the Defense Ministry and the Science and Technology Ministry, reportedly will remain in effect until next August.
Tzipi Livni rebuked the Netanyahu government Sunday morning for its decision.
That Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government intends “to circumvent the [High Court of Justice] and continue perpetuating this historic injustice is outrageous, immoral and does not stand the test of the High Court,” the Tzipi Livni Party leader said.
Livni described the move as a Netanyahu decision “to spit in the face of the Zionist majority” on the eve of elections.
Former OC Human Resources Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Elazar Stern, who recently joined the Tzipi Livni Party, said that the Netanyahu government was missing an historic opportunity to resolve the issue of equality in the burden.
Stern said the government was destroying any possibility of resolving the issue via an agreement, despite recent efforts to come to an arrangement.
“Many officials in the haredi community were willing to make compromises.. but the end result is that on the eve of elections, the government has demonstrated its true priorities,” Stern said.
Echoing their comments, Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said Sunday that the government must stop buying time to find a solution to the issue of equality in the burden.
“There are more and more haredim who want to enlist,” Bennett said, calling on the government to produce real solutions via different tracks of service which will allow haredim to do their part in sharing the burden.
Labor candidate Itzik Shmuli also responded to the move, asserting that the Labor party had already presented a fair and realistic alternative to the Tal Law.
He slammed the government for its temporary solution, saying Netanyahu’s government is characterized by years of inaction and inability to make concrete decisions.
He said the Labor proposal will ensure that every year exemption will be given to a specific percentage of the haredi sector, “a move designed to ensure real recruitment and not the spins that Netanyahu is used to, which are just lip service for the upcoming election.”
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post