Minister Ami Ayalon is expected to ask cabinet to sanction a new four-year program aimed at increasing the number of ultra-Orthodox who volunteer for National Service.
Minister Ayalon, who holds the National Service Portfolio, said his proposal in meant to advance the implementation of the previous government decisions to that effect, such as the Tal Act. Ayalon wants to have 2,000 haredim enlist in the service every year by 2012, as opposed to the 200 who volunteer today.
The motion lists various goals and intermediate objectives, such as having 700 Orthodox volunteers by 2009 and 1,000 by 2010. The plan's estimated cost by 2012 stands to be NIS 40 million ($11.05 million), an expenditure Ayalon is adamant could benefit the Israeli market as a whole.
Minister Ayalon's office said that the new volunteers would be assigned to helping the elderly and at-risk social groups. Volunteering for National Service would also allow its graduates to find their place in the Israeli work force – which in many cases is reluctant to hire those how have not served in the IDF. That, in turn, would save the State their cost in income support benefits.
The move, said Ayalon's office, has been coordinated with the heads of the ultra-Orthodox community, who view it as an opportunity to ease the poverty plaguing the community.
Ayalon also stands to ask the government to form a team to examine the ways in which the plan could be implemented. The future team is to be headed by Ayalon and include representatives from the Finance Ministry.