Hundreds of senior IDF
officers, soldiers and regular civilians filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on Tuesday against Defense Minister Ehud Barak,
demanding that he "immediately recruit all yeshiva students to the IDF."
The petitioners claim Barak is "deliberately ignoring" a court ruling which struck down the Tal Law
Before it expired in August, the Tal Law regulated the military draft exemption for yeshiva students.
"The court rules, and Barak does as he pleases. There is no judge and no law," reads the petition, which was signed by Major General (res.) Amram Mitzna,
six brigadier generals, 27 lieutenant colonels and other officers, including Major (Res.) Yehuda Ressler, who is heading the campaign for the equal distribution of the burden. Many civilians, including youngsters who will be recruited in the near future, also signed.
The petitioners are asking the court to obligate Barak to recruit all yeshiva students to the IDF, apart from those who cannot enlist due to personal reasons and those the army does not want to recruit. The petitioners are demanding that the court issue an interim injunction forbidding the exemption of yeshiva students from army service until it rules on the appeal.
Ehud Barak in the Knesset (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
"There is nothing more disgraceful than asking the IDF to resolve the issue of haredi recruitment within 30 days, when the request was made on the day the Tal Law expired. The court must protect the (army's) honor and put an end to this farce," the petitioners wrote.
According to them, as early as 1998 the High Court determined that the defense minister does not have the authority to exempt yeshiva students from army service.
More than a month has passed since the Tal Law expired, "and the yeshiva students continue to defer their military service, as though the court did not rule on the matter," the petitioners said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to make good on his promise to introduce an alternative bill that would bring about better "sharing of the burden by all segments of Israeli society."
Meanwhile, the IDF is continuing with its preparations for the mass recruitment of ultra-Orthodox. Since the Tal Law expired, a committee headed by IDF personnel chief Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbivai
has been examining the army's needs. In accordance with its findings, the Central Command is expected to set up a second haredi battalion, and the army is also expected to recruit haredim to its newly-assembled teams of computer hackers, which lead the nation’s cyber-warfare efforts.
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