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Haredi soldiers praying at the Western Wall Photo: AFP
Haredi soldiers praying at the Western Wall Photo: AFP
 
 

Angry yet defiant, Haredi leaders say they already have their money

Community says High Court ruling to withhold funds for yeshiva students who have not enlisted will have no impact on their finances

Kobi Nachshoni
Published: 02.05.14, 10:10 / Israel News

Politicians from Israel's Haredi community reacted furiously Tuesday night to the High Court decision to withhold funds for yeshiva students who had disregarded their call-up for the military service. But while the outrage may have been genuine, the concern about funding wasn't, with some pointing out that the February budget transfers to yeshivas had already taken place.

 

 

"The budget for February was transferred (Monday) and by next month, there will be a new law – this interim order will be irrelevant," said a source in United Torah Judaism on Tuesday night. He said the Haredi community was unfazed by the High Court ruling.

 

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The court decision applies to yeshiva students aged 18 to 20, who were served with enlistment orders beginning in August 2013, but had not reported to the recruitment center following Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's decision to delay their draft. The court decision appears to contradict the political echelon's willingness to repeatedly delay the draft of yeshiva students.

 

A senior security source said Tuesday that the High Court of Justice "detests that the (Haredi draft) bill is being delayed, as does the defense establishment." He said the IDF had been waiting for legislation to begin the process of Haredi enlistment, and that the matter "has languished in the Knesset for too long." 

 

Drafting Haredi men into national service has been a hot-button issue in Israel for may years, with many complaining that the sector does not "share the burden" of protecting the state, while receiving massive amounts of state money. A pledge to force Haredi enlistment was a key platform for the new Yesh Atid party, which now forms the second-largest faction in the Knesset.

 

"All it means is that this was a meaningless decision and the pressure that the court tried to put on the government was proven to be false. It seems that ultimately, despite all of this major drama, they will not take a single shekel from the budget for the world of the Torah."

 

 

Even so, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, founder and head of Yesh Atid, announced after the ruling that that there would not be any transfers for yeshiva students whose draft had been delayed, until a new law had been passed on equally distributing the burden.

 

Moran Azoulay contributed to this report

 

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