Protesters on Saturday
Ya'alon with Plesner
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
Photo: Benny Deutch
Activists demanding universal military draft accused lawmakers of dragging their feet in the effort to draft a legislation that would require haredim to enlist to the army.
"They're trying to delay the process and lead us towards another Tal Law," said Boaz Nol, a leader of the protest movement, referring to a legislation that largely exempted the ultra-Orthodox sector from army service.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday morning that he has put together a team to draft an alternative to the Tal Law, which expires in August. Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Knesset Member Yohanan Plesner, who were put in charge of the team, convened for the first time later in the day. They are expected to submit a proposal by Wednesday.
Sources close to the negotiations told Ynet that Netanyahu is seeking a gradual process that would incorporate haredim in the IDF. "Enlisting everyone at the age of 18 is not feasible," one source said, noting that recruiting yeshiva students at the age of 25-26 could be a possible compromise.
Activists dismissed this possibility as unacceptable.
"We found out today that enlisting haredim at the age of 23 would cost the state half a billion shekels a year," said Nol, who heads the "Suckers" camp. "This doesn't make sense and it won't happen. We demand them to be recruited at the age of 18, like every other citizen of the State of Israel."
Idan Miller, who heads the Common Denominator movement, another group demanding equal sharing of the defense burden, seconded the sentiment.
"From our standpoint, postponing enlistment to the age of 23 is unacceptable," he said. "There nothing to stop a haredi youth from enlisting at the age of 23, especially when he has two or three kids and costs the state NIS 5,000 a month. The Israeli public must realize that this burden on the state budget is intolerable. The prime minister must disclose this data to the public before he passes such law."
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