A high-ranking IDF officer leveled harsh accusations at the deans (Roshei Yeshivot) of hareidi-religious yeshivas in a Knesset session Monday, reports Maariv. The session was a closed debate held by the committee that is charged with preparing a bill for regulating enlistment to the IDF by hareidi men.
The IDF representative in the committee, Brig. Gen. Gadi Agmon, said that hareidi yeshiva deans help men avoid IDF service by registering them as students when in fact, they do not attend the yeshivas.
"It is unacceptable that yeshiva deans consciously lie and sign off for their students, attesting to the supposed fact that they are studying at the yeshivas full-time, when in fact they are not there,” Agmon told hareidi MKs.
"There are thousands [of men] who do not study at the yeshivas but we do not have a mechanism for identifying them, to force their enlistment,” he said, according to the Maariv report.
The hareidi MKs present agreed that hareidi men who do not study should be enlisted.
"Those who do not study Torah should go to the army,” said MK Ariel Atias (Shas). “I am not defending hareidim who do not go to the army, only those who study.”
MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) insisted that only the students who study “day and night” should be exempted, and not those who study in a partial way.
MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) told the hareidi MKs: “You have the option of giving your share to the security of the country, and going back to study after the service,” he said. “This is your great moment, for putting an end to the phase of an all-or-nothing battle, and accepting the fact that this law is a compromise upon a compromise upon a compromise.
MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) insisted that a yeshiva student who wants to study Torah must not be enlisted into the military. If need be, he said, those students will go to jail. MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua) responded acerbically, saying: “For years, people in hareidi society have been explaining that the lazy bums, as long as they wear black clothes, are a part of hareidi society and must stay in the yeshiva. With this statement in mind, you keep on saying – 'bring police to the yeshivas.'”
MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi), who chairs the committee, decided to hold the session behind closed doors, in order to create an atmosphere that is more conducive to progress and compromise.