As the Perry Committee members met on Sunday to vote on recommendations for a chareidi draft, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon spoke out against the most provocative elements discussed so far — criminal sanctions against those who refuse induction orders.
“It will not lead anywhere,” Yaalon said about sanctions. “The solution should come about gradually. The right way is to encourage enlistment, not through hatred. We do not carry out change with a blow of a sword, but through a process.”
The committee convened Sunday night amid reports that
its members had voted against imposing criminal sanctions on Roshei Yeshivah whose students do not comply with the new draft law. The recommendations do reportedly include possible criminal prosecution of the bachurim themselves, after a three year transition period has passed.
Jewish Home MK Ayalet Shaked reiterated on Sunday the party’s opposition to criminal sanctions, though it otherwise supports the drafting of yeshivah students. Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) told Army Radio that he believes economic penalties should be imposed on those who refuse the draft.
A proposal to extend the term of military service of Hesder yeshivah students from 16 to 17 months was passed.
However, Tzipi Livni’s Movement party issued a statement that it would only support the legislation if Hesder program participants, which combines 16 months of army service with three and a half years of yeshivah study for national religious men, would be obligated to serve the same amount of time in the army as chareidi men.
“The point is to form equality in the share of the burden of national service, but the proposed outline distorts the principle in whose name it has been embarked upon,” the statement said.
However, it did vote unanimously to authorize an annual ceiling of 1,800 exemptions from IDF service for exceptional yeshivah students, dubbed by the committee as “Torah prodigies.”
Earlier, Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) said his party would not support the plan unless it also called for drafting Israeli Arabs.
As of press time, it appeared that the final recommendations will not mention Arabs, a fact that leaves the fate of the entire proposal in doubt.
The Roshei Yeshivah and chareidi MK’s have made it clear throughout that they are adamantly opposed to any such quota and will go to jail with their students if necessary rather than allow state interference in the yeshivos.