Only days after the initial passing of a haredi enlistment bill, the IDF
's chief of staff slammed the legislation saying that everyone must serve. A senior military source further warned that far from securing more soldiers for the IDF, the bill could lead to a lack of man power.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
said the new bill, outlined by the Shaked Committee and stipulating enlistment quotas for haredi conscription into the IDF, is discriminatory, because the majority of ultra-Orthodox would still not enlist.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz (Photo: IDF Spokesperson Unit)
"You cannot say he will serve, but he won't. We presented the committee with the big picture," Gantz said. An IDF official added that "every one (one the committee) votes for the articles that fit them and then do public relations for it."
Throughout the Shaked Committee's deliberations, the IDF's top brass was unified in its demand that everyone enlist into either the army or civil service ranks.
"We present them with our professional truth, but we don't get to vote," Gantz lamented.
The senior official in the IDF warned that "we are concerned with what final product will be, and hope something will come out of all the statements being made. We are trying our best to influence without intervening."
The source elaborated, and spoke about the IDF's interaction with committee "we told the committee: Don't play games – everyone needs to serve. I doubt they didn't hear us. Israeli
society will decide who will serve through their political representatives, not through the military."
Despite the fact that the bill passed its first reading in the committee, additional revisions and deliberations are expected together with the IDF's Personnel Directorate.
The IDF claim that in addition to the fact that the bill will fail to secure enlistment for all haredim, it will also lead to short-term man power shortages.
The bill is expected to lead to a rise in overall enlistment by its full implementation in 2018, and as a result the bill stipulates a reduction in service time for male soldiers. The IDF now claim that the time-frame between the bill's implementation and the cut will lead to a shortage of manpower numbering in the thousands.
On Sunday, Ynet reported that Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
decided to overrule one of the committee's decisions and demand all new IDF-service track seminaries (arraignment yeshivas) to commit to sending their students to a 24-month IDF service.
The issue was very controversial, as the previous 18-month service track demanded of seminary students was a relic of the previous law governing haredi enlistment – or its lack thereof.
The attempt to expand the service time for haredis serving through the arraignment was perceived as unfair by haredim who felt cheated penalized despite willingness to enlist, but also by those demanding universal conscription for haredim, who claimed it was impossible the previous arraignment stand after a new bill will pass.
Yossi Yoshua contributed to this report