A Knesset committee on the draft held a heated debate Tuesday afternoon on a proposal for compulsory army service for all male yeshiva students by the year 2017. A select number of 1,800 yeshiva students would be totally exempt based on a exemplary level of Torah study. However all others could face economic penalties for failure to serve in the Israel Defense Forces if such a law is passed. National Service, or Sherut Leumi may be an alternative. The committee was chaired by Member of Knesset Ayelet Shaket (Bayit Yehudi).
Vehemently objecting to the proposals were MK Ariel Attias of Shas and MKs Meir Porush and Moshe Gafni, both of United Torah Judaism. Legal advisors for the state and other MKs were present.
In June of 2013, Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism Party) submitted a short-lived bill to end compulsory army service for all Israelis and allow recruitment on a voluntary basis, depending on the needs of the army. MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud - Yisrael Beinetinu) has suggested ending the draft as well. However this year many voices in the Knesset had called for a universal draft for those historically exempt, focusing on full time yeshiva students. Also many such students have opted out under the now defunct Tal Law, others joined the hesder program which combines Torah study with army service.