Justice Minister Tzipi Livni attacked her coalition partners Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid on Wednesday, over the cancellation in the proposed lengthening of the active military service period for soldiers in the hesder track which combines army service and Torah study over a five-year period.
The active army service period was to be lengthened from 16 months to 22, but instead only one month will be added, and the period of service will stand at 17 months, according to an agreement reached among the members of the Perry Committee for Equal Burden of Service. Livni’s party was represented at that committee by Environment Minister Amir Peretz.
"It is not just Asher and Chaim who need to get under the stretcher,” Livni wrote on her Facebook page, referring to the fictitious hareidi characters that Finance Minister Yair Lapid made up during a news conference on Wednesday, in which he issued a direct appeal to hareidi-religious men to join the IDF using a Hebrew expression alluding to carrying the stretcher of a wounded soldier.
“Neria and Elkana should also continue to carry the stretcher as part of a full military service,” Livni, who has advocated that hesder students should spend at least as much time in active service as hareidi-religious soldiers, wrote. “Today, an opportunity to test whether equality in the burden is only an election slogan or a real value fell into our hands. A future law called the Equal Burden Law was approved by a ministerial committee today.”
"But it seems as though there are some who are more equal than others,” she charged. “While hareidim serve 24 months, which is less than the secular public who will serve more than 30 months, it turns out that their brothers at the hesder yeshivas will serve only 17 months.”
"So when I hear the Finance Minister calling out to ‘my hareidi brothers’ to put on a uniform, I of course join the call, but also add a call of my own: It is not just Asher and Chaim (hareidi names, ed.) who should go 'under the stretcher', but Elkana and Neria (common religious Zionist names -ed.) also need to continue to help carry it for a full period of service and for more than 17 months, and at least as long as the hareidim,” said Livni.
“Equality in the burden is a value and not a political masquerade which changes from time to time according to the composition of the coalition and the power of the sectors that are represented in it," she added. "As Justice Minister I say this as a statement of values and am asking professionals to examine the constitutionality of the bill, which distinguishes in my opinion between one yeshiva and another and between one type of kippah and another, all according to political power.”
Hesder students enlist in combat units in numbers that are much higher than their proportion in the IDF and have a disproportionate number of heroes as well.