Yaalon: No to Forcing Hareidim, Arabs to Enlist

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon says “threats won't work,” hopes compromise wording will be found.

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Gil Ronen,

Hareidi boys in school
Hareidi boys in school
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Tuesday that neither hareidi Jews nor Arabs can be forced into enlistment to the military. The issue is a burning one, as the secularist Yesh Atid is pushing for acceptance of a bill that would make young hareidi men criminally liable if they refuse to enlist.

Yesh Atid is threatening to bring down the coalition if the criminal sanctions are removed from the bill, while other coalition partners insist that sanctions be financial only.

"Unfortunately,” Yaalon said, “some people do not understand the sensitivity in changing reality after 65 years, [a reality] which cannot be changed with a sword's blow, and not with a bill, and not by threatening either population – the hareidim and the Arabs.

Yaalon, who was touring a Home Front Command base in Ramla said that there is currently communication with Yesh Atid over the bill's wording, adding: “I believe that the wording will change, in the end, because the initial phrasing was unacceptable to me, and I will continue to see it that way.

"It's a matter of phrasing,” he said, “because on the essence, we reached agreement in the committee, and I hope we will formulate something that will serve to avoid coalition crises.”