Monday, May 27, 2013

Peri Commision on drafting Chareidi deadlocked over penalties

Times of Israel   A committee meeting tasked with passing new rules for drafting youth into the army — particularly ultra-Orthodox — ended in argument early Monday morning as sides failed to agree on punishment terms for draft dodgers. The termination of the Peri Committee meeting followed several hours in which the panel found broad consensus and approved several points from a recent draft proposal. 

The main bone of contention arose between Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, who heads the eponymous group drafting the new rules, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. The two agreed to meet in an attempt to hash out their differences later on Monday.

Ya’alon said before the vote that he would oppose any measure that automatically criminalized ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers. However, Peri and his Yesh Atid faction consider sanctions a central part of the plan, which is intended to integrate the ultra-Orthodox into military or national service. [...]

During the meeting, which lasted past 1 a.m. Monday, the panel agreed on most of the draft proposal’s measures, including allowing top Torah scholars to be exempted from service and not extending the new rules to Arab youths along with the ultra-Orthodox.

The panel also agreed to lengthen service for those in the religious hesder serve/study program by a month, and not by eight months, as was originally proposed.

Hesder students currently spend 16 months in service and several more years in yeshiva study.


  1. This is an interesting report on smoking stats in Israel

    It doesn't seem to include stats for religious folk, so it is hard to tell if they smoke more than seculars. However, amongst the Arab sector, 46% of males smoke, vs around 6% of females. It is thus interesting to know if haredi women smoke at all? I can't recall ever seeing that.

  2. Recipients and PublicityMay 28, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    1 of 2:

    Israel National News / Arutz Sheva:

    "MK Eichler: Abolish Mandatory IDF Service

    Cancellation of the mandatory service and turning the IDF into a professional army will end the "cultural war" against hareidim, says MK.

    By Arutz Sheva Staff

    MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) said on Monday that the mandatory IDF service should be cancelled and that the Israeli army should be turned into a professional army. This, he said, would bring to an end what he termed the “cultural war” between secular Israelis and hareidim.

    “There are two wars going on in this country,” he said. “The first one is a security war against the Arabs and the second is a cultural war against the Torah and the Jewish way of life. Someone who is truly concerned about security must only accept into the army soldiers who are suitable for fighting. This should be in accordance with the decision of the related authorities, not in accordance with the aspirations of the commissars of secular culture.”

    “The law of mandatory conscription requires the military to recruit everyone, even those who are unable to fight,” said Eichler. “Drafting everyone constitutes a burden on the fighting forces. Billions from the defense budget are wasted on soldiers who do not contribute anything to national security. Only eliminating the mandatory conscription will also eliminate the demagogic basis of the enemies of the hareidim who wish to use the army to war against the Jewish culture.”

    According to Eichler, "In the war of defense against enemies from outside, we must cancel the mandatory draft and release billions that are unnecessarily wasted by the army on soldiers who are not fit. These cost the country three years of unnecessary and heavy expense that affects the wages of professional soldiers. The ‘people's army’ is a political term to create a ‘melting pot’ of secular culture. It should gradually become a professional army whose job is only to defend. Releasing the unnecessary soldiers will leave a lot of money for fair wages for a professional soldier.”

  3. Recipients and PublicityMay 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    2 of 2:

    Israel National News / Arutz Sheva:

    "MK Eichler: Abolish Mandatory IDF Service

    Eichler’s comments come as the government faces its first coalition crisis over the planned drafting of hareidim.

    The Perry Committee for Equal Burden of Service abruptly ended a meeting on Sunday night after an argument between the chairman of the committee, Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Perry of Yesh Atid, and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon over the issue of criminal sanctions against hareidi yeshiva students who evade army service.

    Yesh Atid demands that, once a 4-year transition period is over, hareidi men who dodge enlistment face criminal sanctions, but the other coalition partners want the sanctions to only be financial.

    In response to the disagreement, Yesh Atid chairman Finance Minister Yair Lapid threatened that “There will be equality in the burden [of military service] or this government will fall apart.”

    "If someone thinks that I entered politics only in order to solve the financial catastrophe that the former government has left behind, then he does not understand what we are doing here,” he added. “I call upon the parties to wake up and behave as ruling parties are supposed to behave. Stop this game – it does not bring them any honor and it is preventing a historic wrong from being corrected.”

    Bayit Yehudi chairman Minister Naftali Bennett urged members of the government and MKs to show understanding and stay calm until the problem can be resolved.

    “We are within a historic process that will eventually integrate the hareidi public into Israeli society,” Bennett said at a meeting of Bayit Yehudi MKs Monday. “The path to this is full of roadblocks, and I call on all involved not to overreact.”

    Bennett said that the process of bringing hareidim into the army and the workforce – after a decades' long exclusion from both – would require time and patience to work properly.

    “No one wants to see the Military Police invading Bnei Brak and making arrests," he said, in reference to Israel's largest hareidi-majority city. "This will not solve anything. On the other hand, a slow and intelligently-implemented process of benefits, coupled with a great deal of love for the hareidim to integrate them into the greater Israeli society, is what is needed." "

  4. Recipients and PublicityMay 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Israel National News / Arutz Sheva:

    "Ministers Expected to Oppose ‘Anti-Hareidi’ Perry Report

    The Perry Committee’s recommendations are expected to face strong opposition. MK: It looks like an anti-hareidi campaign.

    By Maayana Miskin

    The Perry Committee on Equal Burden of Service will present its recommendations to the government on Sunday. The committee created a series of recommendations related to boosting military enlistment in the hareidi-religious community.

    The recommendations are expected to face strong opposition, with various factions disagreeing with the committee’s findings for their own reasons.

    The Yisrael Beytenu faction is expected to oppose the recommendations due to the fact that they focus on hareidi enlistment while ignoring the question of mandatory national service for Arab citizens of Israel. Israeli Arabs are currently exempt from the draft.

    The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) faction is expected to voice opposition for the same reason, and for other reasons as well, including the plan to extend the term of active military duty involved in the Hesder program, which combines military service and Torah study.

    Bayit Yehudi leaders also oppose the committee’s suggestion that heads of yeshivas whose students do not enlist should face criminal charges, as does Minister Amir Peretz of the Hatnua faction.

    MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi) explained his concerns over the recommendations. “Israel’s security needs are serious, and the entire public must help bear them, particularly now, with the escalation in the north,” he said. However, he said, “The process [of hareidi integration] as currently planned is doomed to failure.”

    “The threat of criminal punishment violates the coalition agreement, and will just add fuel to the fire,” he argued. “The recommendations look like an anti-hareidi campaign. We have to remember that the goal is to integrate the hareidi-religious, not to make them secular.”

    Any solution to disparities in enlistment rates must follow real dialog, he added. “It isn’t ethical or wise to promote this process without direct dialog with the hareidi world,” he said.

    Prominent Likud legislator Yariv Levin voiced similar concerns Saturday, terming the recommendations “an anti-hareidi campaign” and “a bluff.”

    Opposition parties have criticized the plan as well. Hareidi Knesset Members have accused the government of seeking to harm Torah students, while a Labor MK has expressed concern that the high marriage rates among hareidi-religious young men will mean the proposals have little real effect."

  5. Someone ought to consider the pros and cons of volunteer armed forces in Israel. All sides seem to assume that there must still be a draft for somebody, but that might not be so. Possibly, patriotism and positive incentives could be enough of a driving force to staff the armed forces to the needed level of manpower and proficiency. Naturally, those who view the draft as a means to coerce integration into a non-religious sector of society would take exception, but those might not be a majority now.


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