High Court push to speed up IDF draft law

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 6, 2014
(Photo: Flash 90)

(Photo: Flash 90)

The Israeli High Court order on Tuesday to prevent the government from funding Charedi yeshivahs for students whose IDF draft has been deferred has added extra urgency to the move to pass a new national service law in the Knesset.

The 8-1 ruling by the nine Supreme Court judges came following a petition by the Hiddush lobby group against the state for not drafting the students.

It means that the main Charedi yeshivahs will now be denied a major source of funding and will put pressure on the rabbis, the Charedi parties and the government to reach an agreement on the new law which has been stuck for nearly a year in a committee headed by Habayit Hayehudi MK Ayelet Shaked.

The law will force a quota of around 70 per cent of young Charedi men to serve in the IDF or an alternative national service, while the remainder will be allowed to continue their studies.

The main reason for the delay in the drafting of the law is the argument within the coalition over whether to press criminal charges against those refusing to enlist or to make do with financial sanctions.

The committee has also made attempts to negotiate with the Charedi leadership but their effort has been stymied by an internal disagreement between the rabbis over whether to co-operate.

The High Court ruling also contained a warning to the politicians against delaying much longer. It said: “If the legislation on drafting yeshivah students is not completed, we will consider necessary action.”

Last updated: 9:45pm, February 6 2014