Hareidim, enlistment
Hareidim, enlistmentIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Plesner Committee, which is tasked with finding a formula for mandating military and national service in all sectors of Israeli society, is leaning toward recommending sanctions against hareidim who avoid serving in the military or carrying out alternative national service. In addition, the sanctions would target yeshivas whose students avoid service.

According to Channel 2, the committee's chairman, MK Yochanan Plesner (Kadima), has asked the Finance Ministry to come up with a formulation of a law that would punish hareidim who avoid service. The sanctions would be financial in nature: those affected would be ineligible for National Insurance stipends and various other benefits.

Channel 2's Sivan Rahav-Meir said that while hareidi parties are boycotting the committee, they are following its deliberations closely and with concern. Hareidi sources said that rather than pursuing a negative approach, new tracks for service in the military and alternative national service should be opened up for hareidim, and existing tracks widened.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Monitoring Committee of Israel's Arabs has decided to boycott the deliberations of the Plesner Committee as well.

"Before we begin discussing this subject, there must be a discussion of the harm being done to the rights of Arab citizens, the incitement and the racist laws that the Knesset passes," the Monitoring Committee said in a statement.

The Plesner committee has been meeting three times a week since its appointment last month and is due to hand in recommendations by the end of June. It was established after the High Court ruled that the previous formula regulating hareidi military service, known as the Tal Law, was unconstitutional.