Hareidi men in Bnei Brak (illustrative)
Hareidi men in Bnei Brak (illustrative) Israel news photo: Flash 90

The High Court heard a complaint Tuesday from the Hiddush organization for religious freedom, which filed suit over the fact that hundreds of hareidi-religious men have been allowed to delay enlisting in the IDF.

Many hareidi men view IDF enlistment as an obstacle to the religious obligation of Torah study as they and their rabbis interpret it.

While the High Court previously overturned a law allowing full-time Torah students to defer service, hareidi men have yet to be forcibly drafted. Six hundred young hareidi men who received or will receive call-up notices for the months August to October will have their actual service deferred for the present.

Hiddush sued to require the 600 to enlist. The nine justices who heard the case proposed a compromise: the men’s enlistment will be deferred, but the delay will not count as part of their service, meaning they will be required to serve a full three years regardless of the timing of their enlistment.

Deputy Director-General of Hiddush Shachar Ilan expressed concern over the proposed compromise.

“We’re worried that the real meaning of this proposal is not compromise, but a delay until the Knesset passes the Perry law," he said.

If the compromise is accepted, he explained, it would mean that the IDF will continue not to enlist hareidi men – except voluntarily – while the Knesset continues to work toward a bill on “equal burden of service.” The Knesset’s bill, he said, “as the public is beginning to understand, is a law with no equality in the sharing of the burden.”