Report: IDF Committee to Recommend Sharply Lowering Age of Exemption for Chareidim

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Tel Hashomer IDF base. (Flash90)

A committee appointed to examine falsified figures given for chareidi enlistment in the IDF intends to recommend lowering the exemption age for chareidim.

The committee, headed by Maj. Gen. (res.) Ronni Numa, is expected to release its findings on the scandal surrounding the IDF’s inflated recruitment figures of chareidim this week. Even before publishing its conclusions, the committee is proposing that the government consider gradually reducing the age of exemption from IDF service for yeshivah students until it is completely abolished, Haaretz reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the committee criticized the recruitment of chareidi men aged 21 and over, who usually are married and cost the army more than they’re worth, from a military standpoint.

Until now, a yeshivah student can receive a deferral of recruitment to the IDF as part of a settlement that was set by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, and at 24, he is entitled to full exemption from recruitment. However, the committee will probably come out with a recommendation to exempt the chareidim from recruitment.

The committee recommends focusing on integrating chareidim into the workforce.

It was also reported that officers had been pressured to inflate the chareidi recruitment figures so that they met quotas set by the government. One officer even testified that he lied in his reports on chareidi soldiers.

In December 2019, senior IDF officials admitted to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that errors were made in counting the number of chareidi recruits, but at the time, denied any deliberate deception.

In December, an officer in the Manpower Directorate told Channel 13 news that he had been pressured by higher-ups to “fix the numbers” to meet the quotas.

The IDF Spokesman commented on the Haaretz revelations, noting that “the IDF report has not yet been completed. At this point, the review team presented its conclusions several times to the chief of staff, and the chief of staff has asked for … additional data… it will be presented to the public in full transparency by the end of the week.”