The Knesset plenum ratified into law Monday MK Yoni Chetboun's (Jewish Home) "Draft Dodgers' Law," whereby Israeli citizens who dodge the mandatory IDF draft will now not be privy to state-funded student benefits and scholarships.
State-funded scholarships cover a wide range of popular programs for college students in Israel, including - but not limited to - the full education grants provided for new immigrants by the Student Authority, the PERACH work-study program, the Ministry of Education Scholarship, several programs targeted at specific populations and to students from low socio-economic backgrounds, and more.
Draft-dodgers will now be ineligible to receive state-funded assistance, however, as an added incentive to prevent ideological draft evasion. According to the IDF, about 5,000 18 year-old men and women in Israel evade the draft every year.
Students who are exempted from IDF service for religious, health, or other reasons covered by official exemption laws will still be eligible for state-funded assistance.
"The Knesset made clear tonight that we must condemn, not respect, those who violate the law," Chetboun stated. ''It is inconceivable that those who evade the State are privy to prizes. The IDF is the army of the people, and society as a whole has a responsibility to join in to eradicate draft-dodging."
"We, as elected officials, have a vitally important moral obligation to stop this farce. The new law will put an end to this deplorable practice," Chetboun added. "I thank MKs for discovering, and confirming, the responsibility for this important amendment."
Support for the bill crossed the political divide, with MKs from several parties as signatories on the bill. MKs who joined Chetboun included MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home), MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid), MK Yariv Levin (Likud), MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), MK Yaakov Margi (Shas), and Labor MKs Eitan Cabel and Amar Bar-Lev.