Today there are around 1,300 soldiers, who were educated in ultra-Orthodox schools, left the religion and had been drafted as regular soldiers.
The Lobby for Graduates of ultra-Orthodox Educational Institutions convened on Tuesday in the Knesset, led by the Out for Change advocacy group and headed by MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) and Michal Rozin (Meretz).
The Lobby will focus on the existing gaps, and the damage it does to those who grew up as Haredim and are now trying to integrate into secular society.
The IDF has over the years invested in helping those who received an ultra-Orthodox education and later had been integrated into designated military tracks such as Netzah Yehuda Battalion and Shachar Battalion, in order to help them overcome educational gaps.
However, those who prior to enlisting left the religion, do not qualify for these benefits since they came through regular IDF drafts.
After years of campaigning, especially by Out for Change, for the first time all the graduates of ultra-Orthodox educational frameworks, will be eligible for “Perek Mesima”.
The project will be overseen by Haredi director in the IDF and the Fund and Unit for Directing Discharged Soldiers.
“There is no reason that people from the same cultural background and with similar educational gaps will not be eligible for the same benefits,” explains the vice president of Out for Change, Yossi Klar.
“This is the responsibility of our country and of course it’s in the country’s interests to allow those who wish to be integrated in the secular Israeli society, to do so. This step by the IDF is appreciated and I hope other government ministries will join the IDF in bringing the discrimination of those brought up in the Haredi society—even if they don’t wear a skull cap, to an end,” added Klar.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit explained the decision to extend the “Perek Mesima” program.
“In light of the increase of those with an ultra-Orthodox educational background enlisting through the regular IDF draft, Haredi director in the IDF and the Fund and Unit for Directing Discharged Soldiers, established a program which provides an adequate and appropriate answer to soldiers with a Haredi background,” said the official statement.