IDF Begins to Draft Hareidi-Religious Youth
The IDF will begin to draft hareidi-religious 16 to 19-year-olds, but "will wait till after elections" for 20 to 28 year olds, says Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
The IDF will send out the orders within the next few weeks, summoning about 15,000 hareidi-religious Jews for interviews at induction centers, Barak said at a Knesset committee hearing on Monday.
The IDF's Netzach Yehuda combat battalion and the Shachar high-tech training unit were two of the hareidi service programs Barak said would be expanded to meet the increased recruitment of hareidi-religious Israelis.
But many 19-year-old hareidi-religious young men have already received draft notices; some who did not show up to induction centers the first time around received a second notice and a phone call.
"My son wanted to finish his rabbinical training and get his semicha (ordination) before starting his army service," one mother who lives in a northern Negev community told Arutz Sheva in an interview Monday evening. "When we got the notice we were very upset. All of his plans were turned upside down, and while he is still in yeshiva, he now has to leave by the end of the month and go to a base.
"I understand others who say everyone should serve; others want to go to college and also have to put their learning off because of this. But how come our neighbors down the block didn't also get such notices? I can tell you: they are smart enough to marry their sons off immediately -- by the time they turn 18."
Barak added that due to upcoming elections, he would temporarily refrain from implementing the draft for 20 to 28 year olds who currently are learning in yeshivas on military deferrals through the Tal Law, which expired this past August.
"Because we're now in election season, and in order to facilitate dialogue, I have refrained from setting in stone [orders] regarding rabbinic students in the interim age bracket," he told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
He warned, however, that students currently enrolled in yeshivas who are hoping to permanently avoid military service would either need to volunteer for some form of service, such as national service, or get a complete exemption enabling them to enter the labor force.