Daily Israel Report

Knesset Passes Enlistment Law

The law is intended to raise the number of young hareidi men who serve in the military. The opposition boycotted the vote.
By Arutz Sheva staff
First Publish: 3/12/2014, 11:05 AM

Hareidi enlistment
Hareidi enlistment
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The controversial Enlistment Law passed in the Knesset plenum Wednesday morning, in the second and third readings. The opposition boycotted the vote.

MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) voted against the law. He angered his party and the Coalition with the surprise declaration Tuesday that he plans to vote against the Enlistment Bill.

Chetboun explained what led him to vote against the bill on drafting hareidi men to the army.

“On the one hand, the members of the Jewish Home party, and chief among them MK Ayelet Shaked, really made a very significant effort so that this law, as I have said in the past, will be workable for the hareidi community,” he began.

However, he continued, “On the other hand, as time goes on – and particularly over the last twenty-four hours – I feel that we are creating a serious schism between us and the Torah world, and the hareidi community.”

MK Ayelet Shaked, also of the Jewish Home, who played a leading role in crafting the Enlistment Law, again called on the hareidi public to join the military in her plenum speech Wednesday.

"He who is not studying [Torah] should be courageous and enlist,” she said. Civilian national service as an alternative to military service “is a privilege that is given only to the hareidi public, because we think they can contribute not just in the military, but also in civilian service – in the police, Magen David Adom, and the Fire Service.

Enlistment in the military is only a part of the process of assimilation of hareidim into mainstream society, she said, adding that "the hareidi sector is of high quality and talented."

She attempted to assuage concerns that hareidim who join the military will be influenced in a way that causes them to forsake their hareidi lifestyle. “The Chief of Staff told us explicitly that the army wants a hareidi soldier who enters the army, to exit the army as a hareidi. There is no intention to change the way of life of any soldier," Shaked averred. "There are military service tracks that are fitted [to the hareidi public] – as the graduates of Blue Shachar and Nahal Hareidi can attest.”