A statement issued Sunday by the committee tasked with examining the Tal Law, which exempts ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from army service on religious grounds, concluded that it is simply not working.
The report called to enforce mandatory IDF service or significant National Service on all citizens. The committee members added that without any legislative changes made to the law, it will be unsuccessful in strengthening the principle of mandatory service, national or military, among the Israeli public.
Committee Chairman Knesset Member Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) presented the document to his colleague MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima).
The report discussed some "positive trends" within the haredi public regarding the service, but the committee still called for legislative and policy changes to "adjust the Tal Law mechanisms to changes in society."
Haredim at the recruiting station. "Positive trends" (Photo: Zvika Tishler)
The committee determined that it would be better to recruit haredim to the IDF than have them perform National Service, "so as to secure the principle of equality and preserve the value of the IDF service."
The committee recommended recruiting at least a third of the haredim who belong to the class of 2015 to the IDF, while another third would join the National Service.
According to the plan, the rest of the haredi class of 2015 will be allowed to continue its Torah studies in yeshivas, but the goal will remain to recruit as many of them to a shortened service period and integrate them into the IDF reserve force.
The committee also called to gradually raise the number of haredi recruits in 2016 "until mandatory service for all becomes normalized", while a small group of excelling students will still be permitted to study in yeshivas.
"The political echelon must instruct the IDF to broaden the existing courses for haredi service and provide a budget for them," the report stated. "A multi-year plan is necessary, emphasizing the military service. Meanwhile, out of concern for the Israeli economy, the haredi integration courses in the IDF should also be developed because they contribute to their integration in the job market."
The report also mentioned a number of administrative changes which are required in order to fulfill the purpose of Tal Law, including making the National Service the responsibility of the Prime Minister's Office and not of the Science, Culture and Sport Ministry so as to give it a more "national appeal".
The committee also proposed to open a special recruitment track - a national-security service for haredim aged 22 and up. "It will help with the manpower shortage," they explained.
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