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      In Future, Half the Population Won't Enlist, Says Expert

      Hebrew U expert: The changing birthrate among different sectors may lead to a point where half the people be exempted from military service.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 7/6/2012, 6:43 AM

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      Flash 90

      Professor Sergio Della Pergola, a demographics expert from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said on Thursday that the changing birthrate among different sectors in Israeli society may lead in the future to a point where half the people who reach conscription age will have an exemption from military service.

      “The percentage of children reaching the recruitment age and having an exemption in the hareidi-religious and Muslim sectors is continually increasing,” Prof. Della Pergola told Arutz Sheva. “Currently it stands at 25 percent, and I predict that in 25 years half of those who reach conscription age will have an exemption.”

      He added that believes that if the Draft Law changes, it will also affect the birthrate among the hareidim and the Arabs, saying, “There is no doubt that there is an indirect connection between integrating populations within the mainstream of Israeli society and the world view [of those populations] when it comes to social life, economic and demographic patterns.”

      “According to our information, equal burden also brings with it integration into economic and social life. Today the average is about three children per family, and equality can lead in the long run to a point where there will be fewer demographic differences between populations.”

      The analysis comes as the members of the coalition continue to be divided over a new Draft Law. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that he would be willing to impose personal sanctions on hareidim who evade service. He made the comments during talks with the leaders of the coalition parties.

      The new Draft Law has created a crisis in the coalition. The Draft Law committee headed by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner announced its recommendations at a press conference on Wednesday morning, following a blow-up between Mofaz and Netanyahu, who dissolved the committee this week following internal dissension.

      Plesner said he wants to heavily fine hareidi religious youth who refuse to enlist in the IDF but issued only general guidelines for the Arab sector. His insistence on this caused several members of the committee to leave and ultimately forced Netanyahu to dissolve the committee.

      Mofaz has issued a clear ultimatum to Netanyahu to adopt new draft law proposals if he wants to keep Kadima in the coalition.

      Meanwhile on Thursday, Netanyahu met to discuss the issue with Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party, Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman told the Prime Minister during their meeting that the Plesner Committee’s conclusions are unacceptable to him and that he will demand that everyone, including Israeli Arabs, enlist at the age of 18.