Perry Committee Acknowledges Cost of Chareidi Draft

YERUSHALAYIM -
Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Perry leans over to speak with his boss, party chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid during a Knesset session, while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Shas leader Aryeh Deri sit nearby on Wednesday. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Perry leans over to speak with his boss, party chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid during a Knesset session, while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Shas leader Aryeh Deri sit nearby on Wednesday. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Further doubt was cast this week on the practicality of drafting large numbers of chareidim into the army, as the Perry Committee acknowledged the IDF under present budget constraints could not be expected to meet the costs of establishing offices and programs to accomodate their special needs.

The statement, made in a draft text of its recommendations released to the public, came against a backdrop of almost daily announcements of cutbacks in military training and services.

The IDF chaplaincy has been instructed to plan for a cut of some 25 percent in its operating budget in the near future, Hamodia senior military correspondent A. Pe’er reported on Wednesday.

This would mean laying off dozens of members of the IDF rabbinical staff, along with the curtailment of Torah lectures and other religious activities.

Speaking on Tuesday at the site of an Infantry Corps drill in southern Shizafon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said the IDF would have to streamline its operations, “as it seems the economic reality in the coming years will not be easy, but I believe we will be up for the difficult task.”

The statements come just a day after Gantz ordered the cancellation of all reserve operational training in 2013, including four regiments which were called up for the next two weeks, and which were cancelled forthwith.

Meanwhile, the government was working against a deadline. State attorneys have asked the High Court for postponement of a hearing on the new draft law to replace the Tal Law until August 1, rather than June 18 as had been scheduled. They hope  it will give the government sufficient time to win approval in the Cabinet and Knesset of the Perry recommendations in some form by August 1.

However, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that even if the process is not concluded by August 1, as the High Court said it must, he will see to it that there will be no peremptory implementation of a chareidi draft.

The committee recommendations have been published in order to allow for public comment on them ahead of submission to the Cabinet and then the Knesset.