Tens of thousands of haredim are focused on studying the Torah in order to defend Israel, which is why they are exempt from military service under the Tal Law – but what is actually happening on the haredi street?
Israel's Channel 10 filmed an investigative report that shows how the military service deferral is exploited for profit at the State's expense.
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Reporter Dov Gilhar put up wanted ads throughout Bnei Brak with the name of a fictitious company called 'Ohel Avraham' seeking marketing personnel. Offices were prepared and hidden cameras installed. A former haredi was even brought in to play the role of the company chairman.
Yeshiva student interviewd for 'job' (Photo: Channel 10)
The "chairman" explained the job to the candidates stating that everything needed to be formalized and that the job had a pay slip. That's when the problems started.
When one yeshiva student candidate was asked if he had a problem with pay slips he responded that he did, because of the army. He then says that he was previously employed under the table. When asked how he was paid he explained that the pay slip went to someone else and eventually he received cash.
If it became known to the authorities that the student worked, he would not only have to pay income tax, but would also lose out on benefits worth thousands of shekels.
Married yeshiva students receive NIS 800 (roughly $200) a month, NIS 1,040 ($257) in assurance of income, NIS 500-2,000 ($120-$490) from the yeshiva as well as city tax and childcare discounts.
But most importantly – he would be obliged to enlist to the IDF as he reneged on his promise.
Apparently, the haredim who responded to the ad have plenty of spare time, even though they are supposed to be spending every day at the yeshiva – for which they receive State funds.
"I'm just registered at the yeshiva, but I can work from 6 am to midnight,' said one. "They (the yeshivas) get money for me, around NIS 700," he added. Another candidate said he was available from 10 am to 4-5 pm while a third said he was completely available from 1 pm to 9 pm.
Nine out of 10 "candidates" who were filmed by the hidden cameras exhibited extensive knowledge in backdoor dealings that were meant to ensure that no one take their tax-payer supplied stipends. "If worse comes to worst, I write down the name of a friend who has an absolute exemption," said one.
Yet it would appear that the State's requirement that yeshiva students not work unless they have served in the military is not enforced as one candidate said he had no problem with a pay slip, adding that he had them in previous jobs and no one gave him any problems.
"I don't think the military will check. The second you have problems at the yeshiva, or if you move… but a guy registered in a yeshiva for a year or two – there is no reason for them (IDF) to check the details," said another student.
When three 19-22 year olds were filmed by the hidden camera one admitted that working under the table has always been a problem but added that there was always a solution. He then mentioned a known haredi politician and said: "I'll talk to (him), NIS 1,500 ($370) and it all goes away.
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