Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnua) demanded a reexamination of the track's service length, claiming it was absurd that haredim will be enlisted for a longer period of time than that served by those enlisted through the hesder program. Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, however, claimed there was no need to change the current arrangement.
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The committee, which will convene for the fourth time on Wednesday, is charged with formulating a law agreeable to all coalition members and present it in the upcoming weeks.
Head of the committee, Science Minister Yaakov Perry, wants to devise a draft to be voted on in two weeks time.
Peretz demanded that a change be implemented in regards to the current hesder arrangement, so that hesder yeshiva students' army service be extended from 16 months to a time period just under three years.
Peretz (Photo: Eran Yoffi Cohen)
"If we are reorganizing everything in the face of the current inequality, it is impossible to exempt one group from the process," Peretz told Ynet, further adding that "16 months is not an effective duration of service. The contribution of these soldiers would be minor."
Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) is vehemently opposed to such a demand. According to him, "the current layout of hesder yeshivot, strategically spread out throughout the country, realizes in the best possible way the Zionist vision, blending together writer and warrior, proving it is both possible and successful.
Uri Ariel (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
"There is no dispute that hesder soldiers are of value to the army, paving the way in many aspects. Hence, I see no reason to change the current arrangement, and I will work to ensure that no harm will come to this community which has proven itself a valuable contribution to society."
Next on agenda
The second topic to be discussed Wednesday is Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch's (Yisrael Beiteinu) demand that as part of the new enlistment outline at least 1,000 haredim of those who choose to go the civil service – and not military service – will be serving in the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), Fire and Rescue Services and police.
In addition, Minster Peretz offered to form an inter-ministerial committee in charge of deciding who will be the 1,800 haredim to receive exemption from army service under the soon-to-be formulated law.
The committee's new goals are: In 2013, 3,300 haredim will be enlisted, 2,000 to army service and the rest to civil service; in 2014, the number will rise to 3,800 and 2015 to 4,500. In 2016, some 5,600 haredim are expected to be enlisted.
Heads of the Hesder Yeshivot Union and a group of rabbis headed by Rabbi Drukman will also participate in the meeting.
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