NGO: Significant Drop in Hareidi Army Enlistment

Religious Freedom group debunks Yesh Atid pride over 39% draft increase due to new law 'as accurate as Hamas's declaration of a victory'.

Ido Ben-Porat, Ari Yashar,

Ya'akov Peri meets hareidi soldiers
Ya'akov Peri meets hareidi soldiers
Flash 90

Hiddush, the liberal Movement for Religious Freedom and Equality, on Monday debunked the figures spread by the Yesh Atid party the day before, which bragged of a dramatic increase in hareidi IDF enlistment over the last year thanks to a new draft law.

According to Hiddush, the claims of a dramatic increase are "as accurate as Hamas's declaration of a decisive victory in Gaza" during Operation Protective Edge.

The Knesset committee tasked with tracking the Enlistment Law, which is headed by Science Minister Ya'akov Peri (Yesh Atid), announced a 39% hareidi enlistment increase through the 2013-2014 draft year on Sunday.

However, Hiddush CEO Uri Regev said in response "these are exactly the same figures given two months ago to the Knesset's Shaked Committee which were justly presented as a completely failure. The number of (hareidi) draftees dropped by half due to the Enlistment Law."

According to the numbers presented Sunday, the hareidi draft rose 39% in the past year as 1,972 inductees were brought in, as opposed to 1,416 the year before, and 1,327 the year before that.

Hiddush Vice President of Research and Information Shahar Ilan revealed that Peri's committee neglected to detail that in the first half of the 2013-2014 draft year, a period from July till December 2013 before the controversial draft law, 1,235 hareidim enlisted.

However, in the second half of the draft year from January until July, during which time the effects of the law were being felt, draft nosedived dramatically by 50%, dropping to a mere 623 draftees.

"That means the announcement (Sunday) connected figures from before the rising resistance to the law and after it. The figures from the last half of the year testify to the complete failure," explained Ilan.

Not coming "even close" to government set goals

Ilan added that the effects of the law are best appreciated by comparing the figures of each half year with figures from the year before.

In the second half of 2013 there was a dramatic rise of 56% compared to the second half of 2012, as numbers rose from 793 to 1235. By contrast, in the first half of 2014 there was a rise of merely 18% compared to the first half of 2013, with figures going from 623 to 737.

The 18% increase is only half of the increase needed to meet the hareidi enlistment figures the government set for itself, Ilan pointed out. He added "if that was the pace of enlistment throughout the whole year, the IDF wouldn't even come close to meeting the goal" of 2,000 inductees in 2014.

Regev concluded by saying "the Enlistment Law caused great damage to the hareidi enlistment. We must hope that maybe hareidi interest in Operation Protective Edge will fix that a little."

"It's a shame that the government and the parties that passed the Enlistment Law still don't understand that revolutions aren't conducted through Facebook statuses and media announcements, but rather through true changes in the society," added Regev in a subtle jab at social media-savvy Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, who together with Jewish Home pushed the law though.

As early as June, only three months after the law was passed, Rabbi Avraham Baron, former Chairman for 25 years of the Hesder Yeshivas Association, told Arutz Sheva that hareidi enlistment had fallen sharply and said he hoped the Supreme Court would invalidate the law.


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