Hareidi MK: 'Mandate' to Exclude Yeshiva Students from Draft

According to United Torah Jewry MK Yisrael Eichler, “if the people gave Lapid a mandate, they also gave a mandate to the religious”

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David Lev and Gil Ronen,

MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler
MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler
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Yair Lapid has been the “darling” of the media for garnering 19 seats in the new Knesset, mostly because of his stance on requiring Hareidi yeshiva students to serve in the IDF or National Service. But, said United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler, “if the people gave Lapid a mandate to push through a Hareidi draft requirement, “it also gave a mandate to the religious.”

Speaking at a faction meeting of UTJ Monday, Eichler said that religious individuals, along with religious parties, were well represented in the Knesset. Altogether, some 40 MKs live a religious lifestyle, and there are 18 MKs in Hareidi parties in the Knesset – 7 for UTJ, and 11 for Shas. Those numbers, said Eichler, justified discussing a mandate for ensuring that Hareidi yeshiva students are able to continue their studies uninterrupted, equal to the mandate for Lapid's views.

Speaking at the meeting, MK Menachem Eliezer Mozes said that forcing a draft for Hareidi yeshiva students was impractical. “There are 20,000 such students, who by law are subject to the draft. Is the state going to throw them all in jail? Do you know how much it costs to feed and house a prisoner? Is there money for this?”

Eichler said that he believed the issue would be worked out, and that UTJ would become a member of the government. “There's enough room for everyone in the government,” he said.