IDF: Absent Yeshiva Students Considered AWOL Soldiers
Students in the hesder program who miss classes at yeshiva could face military discipline, a letter from IDF commanders warns.
Yeshiva heads received a letter from the IDF Manpower Directorate. Arutz Sheva was able to see a copy.
The letter noted that any unauthorized absence of a hesder student could lead to discipline. “Any soldier who misses yeshiva for any reason must report to the head of the yeshiva or a staff member authorized by the head of the yeshiva… The yeshiva management must track students’ attendance and report any unauthorized absence.”
The suggested protocol, and punishment for offenses, emphasized hesder students’ status as soldiers.
Hesder students are part of a five-year program that combines Torah study and military service. Unlike regular soldiers they serve 16 to 24 months in military service rather than 36 months; they spend the rest of the period learning Torah full-time and are eligible for reserve duty once they have finished their first stint in the army. They are known as excellent soldiers, volunteering for combat units in numbers above their proportion in the roster of enlisted soldiers.
The program has come under fire recently as the government debates requiring hareidi-religious men to enlist in the army.