IDF Preparing to Integrate More Hareidi Soldiers

As the controversy over the annulled Tal Law continues, the IDF prepares for a new law that will expand recruitment of hareidim.

Elad Benari,

Soldiers.
Soldiers.
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The IDF is preparing for the possibility that the government will decide to expand the recruitment of hareidi-religious Jews, and is preparing accordingly, the IDF website reported on Sunday.

The preparations were decided upon following the recent controversy over the Tal Law, which regulates the recruitment of hareidim to the IDF and which was recently annulled by the Supreme Court.

According to the report, if the government indeed decides to expand the scope of hareidim recruits, the IDF intends to be fully prepared to absorb additional hareidim. This, according to the IDF website, is in accordance with recent remarks made by the head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai. She recently said that “the IDF is ready to absorb any number of hareidim, but as of now it absorbs hareidim according to the number decided upon by the government.”

Lt. Col. Yossi Malka of the IDF’s human resources division was quoted in the report as having said, “This is a complex issue, but the IDF is set to expand the recruitment process of hareidim, if given the directive according to law. We are ready to integrate them in the entire IDF.”

Malka added, “The human resources division deals with quite a bit about with this issue and has invested many resources and efforts to find an alternative solution for an effective service for this population. Hareidim have been integrated in the technological units of the Military Intelligence, in the Air Force, in the Ground Forces and in the Ordnance Corps. The IDF knows how to tailor a suit for each recruit, even if he is religious.”

The IDF website report added that a recent meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee was attended by Brig. Gen. Gadi Agmon, Head of the Army’s Planning and Personnel Division, who presented the data of hareidi recruitment in recent years and addressed the army’s readiness to recruit them.

“The Chief of Staff’s position is that for each hareidi who enlists, the IDF seeks an additional budget to address the infrastructure he requires as well as any other needs,” said Agmon. “All the options are open. Any solution that will increase the scope of the recruitment of hareidim will be examined.”

Several people, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and even journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid have recently presented their own alternatives to the Tal Law.

Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon said last week that the dissolution of the Knesset and holding elections in September will effectively extend the Tal Law into December.

Analysts have said that, by going to elections now, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu satisfies Lieberman's need to make a strong stand on the Tal Law for his constituents while gaining the months he says he needs to arrange the organizational and budgetary framework to begin inducting hareidi men into the IDF.


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