In a dramatic decision Tuesday, the High Court of Justice, composed of nine justices – with a majority of eight to one – issued an interim order forbidding the government from funding yeshiva students whose draft date was delayed.
The decision applies to yeshiva students aged 18 to 20, who were served with enlistment orders beginning in August 2013 and have not reported at the recruitment center because of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's
decision to delay the draft date because "the question of jurisdiction over them is doubtful."
The demographic consists of yeshiva students born in 1994, 1995, and the first half of 1996.
According to MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism):
"There has not been one time that the court helped the haredim. Cutting funding for yeshivot is a severe escalation, a declaration of war on the haredi public in Israel
He added: "The yeshiva funding is given as a right and not as charity, and should not be conditioned on enlistment or any other stipulation. Like all citizens of Israel we are entitled to funding, just as tax money and American financial aid is directed towards cultivating the arts, sports, and activities that are often times against the state – even though the yeshiva funding is given to institutions which hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens see as the prime direct of the Jewish people, learning Torah."
also responded to the news, stating "We are sorry to hear that High Court of Justices judges joined the persecution of the world of Torah, through its coarse intervention in the delicate legislation which is being discussed in the parliament," said an announcement released by the movement.
"The defense minister is acting deliberatively based on his legal authority, thus there is no connection between deferring the draft date and the funding for yeshivas. The decision to rely specifically on economic sanctions was intended to incite against Torah learners in the State of Israel."
Yair Lapid's movement however tied the decision to the stalled legislation. MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid)
said, "The resolute decision of the High Court of Justice left no room for doubt. We cannot continue the status quo, there is an immediate need for progressing the legislation which will arrange the haredi enlistment into the IDF
. We must finish the legislation as determined by the Peri Commission."
The drive to enlist haredi men into the armed forces has been mired in controversy since a Yesh Atid-sponsored
bill passed the Knesset on first reading in July 2013.
Yesh Atid, led by Lapid,
had promised to enlist haredi men as part of his efforts to more equally distribute the burden of protecting the Jewish State. The proposal was delayed several times and subject to much furor from the haredi community.
Since the decision to enlist yeshiva students was taken, the haredi community has used every arrest for dodging the draft to protest against the policy in front of military prisons.