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Haredim at IDF recruitment center (archives)
Photo: Ofer Amram
Ministers approve 'enlistment for all' bills
Yisrael Beitenu's proposal states that those who avoid army or civil service will not be eligible for any state funding. Authors: Maimonides encouraged work alongside Torah studies

The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs approved on Monday the submission of two bills pertaining to IDF enlistment for a first reading in the Knesset.

 

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The bills, authored by MK Einat Wilf (Ha'atzmaut) and the Yisrael Beitenu faction, are aimed at replacing the controversial Tal Law, which effectively exempts ultra-Orthodox from military service.

 

In February the High Court of Justice accepted petitions against the law.

 

Four ministers – Benny Begin, Daniel Hershkowitz, Meshulam Nahari and Yakov Margi - voted against the new bills.

 

Nahari, a Shas member, filed an appeal against the proposals and effectively "froze" them for the time being. It remains unclear if and when the bills will be submitted for the Knesset's consideration. In any case, the bills will not be submitted for a vote in the plenum before they are discussed by the cabinet.

 

Yisrael Beitenu's bill states that military service is an existential necessity in Israel and that the proposal is aimed at preventing draft-dodging. Those who cannot enlist in the army will be required to participate in civil or national service programs, according to the bill.

 

"The law will apply to all Israeli citizens, including Jews, Muslims, Christians, religious, ultra-Orthodox and others," the explanation to the bill says.

 

The bill's authors said that Maimonides also encouraged work alongside Torah studies.

 

According to the bill, those who complete a full civil service program will be exempt from military service, while those who do not enlist in IDF or civil service will not be eligible for any state stipends or grants.

 

"This clause has been added to prevent draft-dodgers from relying on state funds and to force them to work for a living in accordance with the law," the proposal's initiators said.

 

MK Wilf's bill states that the recommendations of the Trachtenberg Committee "expressed the sense of injustice within Israeli society which is directed those who do not shoulder their fair share of the burden. This bill is aimed at distributing the military and civilian burden equally among all segments of the population."

 

The bill offers those who do not wish to enlist in the army the possibility of joining a civil service program, "in accordance with IDF's considerations."

 

Following the vote, Minister Hershkowitz said, "I am in favor of equal distribution of the burden and compulsory army service for those who are able to serve. As for the exemptions from IDF service, volunteerism is an important value that every society is based on. The volunteering option should not become an obligation."

 

 

 

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