The Likud has amended its IDF
draft plan in order to meet the demands made by Yesh Atid
Chairman Yair Lapid.
According to an outline drafted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
staff, haredim will be gradually enlisted to the IDF as early as next year and those who fail to do so will be penalized. The new outline has been presented to Lapid's staff.
Former Kadima Knesset Member Yohanan Plesner,
who previously chaired a committee that was tasked with revising the Tal Law, said that the new proposal may appear different on the surface but is in fact the same as the previous plan. "It's the Tal Law
all over again," he said.
Plesner claimed that the Likud has not changed the principle under which any yeshiva student can postpone his service and ultimately get an exemption. "We must place personal responsibility on the individual, otherwise there is no purpose to all of this," he said.
Lapid's plan will see all Israelis, including haredim and Arabs, reporting to the military induction center at the age of 18. The army will then decide whether to recruit them. Only 400 outstanding yeshiva students will receive exemptions every year.
He nevertheless proposes a five-year exemption to haredim until a National Service induction center is established. In this time, yeshiva students will join the work force and relieve the state of having to pay their allowances.
The Likud's last draft plan, the Ya'alon outline, did
not place general enlistment quotas but instead presented enlistment targets per yeshiva. It sought to impose a fine on yeshivot that fail to meet these targets. This plan is more favorable to the haredim and effectively allows to yeshivot "to buy" their students' military service.
The Netanyahu plan, drafted by National Economic Council head Prof. Eugene Kandel, is different than the Ya'alon proposal in that it will see immediate enlistment which will be gradually reinforced later. Within five years most of the haredim will be enlisted and following their discharge they will join the work force.
Currently, there are some 2,400 haredim serving in the IDF and National Service and a similar number of Arabs in the National Service. More than 400 Arabs volunteered to serve in the army.
A source in the Likud noted: "What this means is that instead of granting five-year exemptions to everyone, as Lapid suggests, the draft will be effective immediately and most haredim will be enlisted within five years.
"On the other hand," the source added, "if Lapid sees that goals aren’t met during the first year or two, he could always insist that his proposal be implemented during the time allotted until five years will have passed."
According to the Likud plan, as set in the Ya'alon outline, yeshivot that don't meet enlistment quotas and yeshiva students that do not enlist will be sanctioned.
At the same time, those who join the army or volunteer for National Service will later join the work force and will no longer be dependent on state funds.
Yesh Atid is expected to announce its decision over the next few days following deliberations, but a source within the party estimated that if the final proposal is too different from the Yesh Atid one, the party will likely reject it.
Many in the political system estimate that the haredi parties will likely oppose any outline, though Shas may agree to join the government if the party is given liberty to vote on the issue.
The Ya'alon outline is in fact Netanyahu's response to the outline proposed by MK Plesner. The Plesner committee determined that everyone would be drafted, except 1,500 students per year, and that the exemption threshold for haredim would be the age of 22.
"Later," the prime minister said, "a reevaluation will take place," not specifying when exactly that would be.
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