Anger as defence chief postpones Charedi draft


The implementation of Israel's national service law, which was created to regulate the enlistment of Charedi men into the IDF, is to be pushed back.

The move reflects the terms of the coalition deal that was signed earlier this year by the strictly Orthodox parties and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who agreed to soften the law in order to secure Charedi support in government.

An amendment, which has been authorised by Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon, allows yeshiva students to continue deferring national service until 2020, three years beyond the original deadline.

In addition, when they have to report for military duty or civil national service in July 2020, there will be a second interim period of another three years before those refusing to enlist will be liable for criminal charges.

Since the Supreme Court has ruled that exempting Charedim from the IDF is unconstitutional, the amendment is just a postponement of the fundamental problem.

Netanyahu and Ya'alon will no longer have the moral authority to enlist the nation's army Ofer Shelach

The government and the military's hope is that over the next few years, the number of Charedi men willing to join up and improve their future employment prospects will fill the quota originally envisaged in the law and prevent a breakdown in the efforts to integrate the strictly Orthodox community into wider society and the workforce.

Most criticism of the proposed change in the national service law is being drawn from Yesh Atid, the party led by former finance minister Yair Lapid. Now in opposition, Yesh Atid was the main sponsor of the original law in the last Knesset.

Party chairman Ofer Shelach attacked the amendment, saying: "If it passes, Netanyahu and Ya'alon will not have the moral authority to enlist people to the nation's army and send them to defend the homeland."

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