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High Court Rejects Motion Challenging Enlistment Law

NGO said the law makes things worse, not better, and will only affect 8% of hareidim eligible for draft. High Court unimpressed.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/12/2014, 1:41 PM

Soldiers carry stretcher in training.
Soldiers carry stretcher in training.
Flash 90

The High Court for Justice has rejected a motion against the Enlistment Law that passed Wednesday in the Knesset. The motion was filed by the Equal Burden Forum, an NGO that demands that all citizens share equally in mandatory military and civilian national service. The Forum claims the law, which is supposed to force a large proportion of young hareidi men to serve in the IDF or national service, is a sham.

The High Court appeal was lodged against the Knesset, the Government and the Defense Minister, by the Forum's Itai Ben Horin and Eitan Ginzburg, Deputy Mayor of Raanana.

The appeal claims that the law “does not improve upon the Tal Law, which was cancelled, but in fact makes inequality greater.”

The enlistment goals spelled out in the new law constitute a small proportion of the hareidi yeshiva student population, the appellants said. “For instance, the enlistment goal for 2017 will be 5,200 yeshiva students, a goal that all agree is not high – thus continuing the Tal Law arrangement that has already been found to be unconstitutional.”

In addition, the appelants noted, the enlistment goal is for eight annual enlistment cycles-- i.e., for hareidi men aged 18-26. “In other words, out of about 70,000 yeshiva students, we are talking in reality about less than 8% of the hareidim who are supposed to serve, whether it be in military service or national-civilian service. Of course, this is a far cry from the government's declarations about enlisting 70% of those eligible for service.”

"Again, we see that there is no leadership in Israel, and therefore we have no choice but to appeal again to the High Court, which is the last defender of the value of service in Israel.”

MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), who headed the Knesset committee that drafted the law, reacted Wednesday to the High Court appeal and said, “I hope that the High Court judges read the protocols of the committee's deliberations, they will see that even if the law is unegalitarian...it is for a worthy cause.”