Liberman: New haredi draft law is a 'vision of the end of days'

Finance Minister hails government's decision to back plan to encourage haredi yeshiva students to enter the workforce.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Avidgor Liberman
Avidgor Liberman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Finance Minister Avidgor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) lauded the government’s decision Sunday to back a program aimed at encouraging haredi yeshiva students to enter the workforce.

“We just now passed in the government a draft law in its original version, which includes lowering the draft exemption age to 21 for a period of two years,” said Liberman, “while at the same time putting together a service plan which will cover every citizen of the State of Israel.”

“Just as the first Minister of Defense of the State of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, put it, the goal of the army is not just to defend the homeland but to also be a ‘melting pot’ bringing together all parts of society.”

“Our decision is balanced between that ‘melting pot’ and the needs of today’s economy, which craves more people in the labor market. This is nothing less than a vision of the end of days, on the path to a comprehensive framework that will enable a common service for all the faces of Israeli society, secular and haredi alike, Jews and Arabs alike.”

Under the plan, which must still be passed by the Knesset, haredi men over 21 will be exempted from the draft.

Currently, yeshiva students must obtain an annual draft deferment, and risk immediate induction into the army if they leave their yeshiva in order to pursue a career.

If the bill is passed by the Knesset, yeshiva students will be able to either to enroll in a jobs training program or enlist in a non-military national service program, serving as emergency first responders, search-and-rescue workers, or other civilian national service positions.

The temporary lowering of the draft exemption age is aimed at encouraging some yeshiva students to join the job market, giving them a three-year period during which they will be able to pursue a career without being drafted.

After two years, the draft exemption age for haredi men will be raised to 22, and three years from now, it will be raised to 23.