Hareidi men, police clash (archive)
Hareidi men, police clash (archive)Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Perry Committee for Equal Burden of Service voted Wednesday to impose criminal sanctions on hareidi-religious men who do not enlist in the army.

Minister of Defense Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon (Likud) voted against the measure, as did Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi). Minister of Environmental Protection Amir Peretz (Hatnua) abstained.

Yaalon reportedly ignored a direct order from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to vote for the measure.

The issue of criminal sanctions had nearly caused a coalition crisis. The last meeting of the Perry Committee ended in conflict after Yaalon rejected calls to punish hareidi men for non-enlistment.

Yaalon said after the meeting Tuesday, “There are those who don’t quite understand the sensitivity of changing a reality that’s been around for 65 years… It can’t be changed through legislation or threats on both populations – either hareidi or Arab.”

“As soon as you condemn an entire sector of society and threaten that Torah students will go to jail, you have the opposite effect [of enlistment],” he warned.

On Wednesday, former IDF Manpower Directorate head MK Elazar Stern warned against criminal sanctions as well. "We can't put thousands of people in jail," he argued.

Members of Yesh Atid declared that they would insist on criminal sanctions.