Yesh Atid Throws Monkey Wrench into Hareidi Draft Compromise
There has been speculation in recent days that a deal was in the works to enable Shas to join the government-in-formation, with a compromise being worked out on the demand by Yesh Atid that all yeshiva students – with the exception of a quota of a few hundred – serve in the IDF or National Service.
According to many commentators, the basis of that agreement was to be a plan put forward by former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, which would replace the expired Tal Law in regulating the hours and numbers of students who study Torah full time. But speaking Thursday, top Yesh Atid officials said that they were not interested in Ya'alon's plan, and that they had their own plan for yeshiva student draft.
In an interview with Maariv, the sources stressed that the Yaalon plan did not solve the problem of the mass exclusion of hareidi yeshiva students from IDF service. According to Yaalon's plan, students would be able to defer their service until age 26, instead of age 28 under the Tal Law. In addition, the plan increases the target goal for increased hareidi draft numbers to 6,000, up from 2,400 under the previous law. In order to ensure that students are learning, the plan reportedly called for yeshivas to install biometric devices where students would identify themselves upon entering and leaving the yeshiva. When the plan was introduced last year, media reports quoted hareidi leaders as saying that, while not ideal, the plan was one they "could live with."
But the Yesh Atid officials said that the plan was insufficient, and that the only plan acceptable to them was their own. “We have a very clear plan, and we expect this to be considered and accepted by the Prime Minister during coalition negotiations,” the officials said. “We do not intend to negotiate with the hareidi parties. Our negotiations are with the Prime Minister,” they said, adding that Yesh Atid would not compromise on its position in any way.