Israel’s Cabinet approved during its weekly meeting on Sunday a proposed resolution that would encourage military and civilian service within the hareidi sector.
23 ministers voted in favor of the resolution, one voted against and two abstained. The resolution will see the State of Israel allocating NIS 130 million per year to formulate unique recruitment plans for the Haredi sector in the IDF, and the IDF will prepare for these plans accordingly. The resolution also states that the age of exemption from military service which will allow the hareidim to join the emergency forces as an alternative for serving in the IDF will be 22.
“This decision will allow for doubling of the number of Hareidim who recruit for civil service,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “We are talking about doubling the numbers within five years, and we are talking about having most young hareidim joining civil service within five years. This is a significant revolution.
Netanyahu added that the decision has “very large implications for the integration of hareidim socially and economically. I think it is very significant and I want to congratulate the IDF and the Ministry of Defense for it. I think it is a great blessing to Israel.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during the meeting that “this is the right move in the right direction in having the hareidim carry the burden and participating in national service.”
Barak added that the plan will help prepare some hareidim to enter the labor market and will contribute to a gradual change in the hareidi attitude to both the army and the country. He added that the success of the plan will be tested through its implementation and that it is important to make a great effort in implementing it.
The number of hareidi men in the army has been on the rise, with just over 1,000 in the IDF, and nearly another 1,100 in National Service in 2009.
In 2009, of the 1,070 hareidim who did army service, 700 enlisted in non–combat units, another 300 signed up for the combat unit known as Nachal Hareidi, and 50 became teacher-soldiers.
Two weeks ago, eighty hareidi men joined the ranks of IDF intelligence, becoming the largest group to do so in the history of the “Bina B'Yarok” (Intelligence in Green) program to bring hareidim into the corps.
The new inductees represent a 25% increase in hareidi-religious presence in the Intelligence Corp. They will work in a variety of positions, working with communications, computers, GIS systems, and in research. Most will work with computers or in communications.