The Shaked Committee, headed by MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), met Monday morning to track the results of its controversial Enlistment Law, which was passed in mid-March, and found that its target for military enlistment is likely to be met by July next year - although an alternative civilian national service track for hareidim is not doing quite as well.
It was revealed in the discussion that 800 hareidim were enlisted between July-September 2014 - making it likely the target of 2,300 hareidi enlistees by July 2015 will be met.
On the other hand, Director of the National-Civilian Service Administration Sar-Shalom Jerbi noted that only 299 hareidim had joined an alternative civilian national service program since the start of July, casting doubt on whether the goal of 1,500 by July next year will be reached. According to Jerbi, the low figures are a result of the exemption for hareidim aged 22 and up, decided upon after the passage of the new law.
Hareidi MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) told the committee "when the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is debating in these days in fear over how in the IDF there are more and more religious symbols - 'religionization' as they call it - what's the surprise that those who guard the Torah and commandments abstain from being among the recruits?"
Porush's remarks refer to a committee hearing held Monday, which as he noted, is surprisingly discussing the increased religiosity seen in the IDF during the last operation. The debate was motivated by alarm over supposed "religious radicalization," leading MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) to state "the enemies are Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and not religious soldiers in the IDF."
When asked by Shaked what can be done, Porush responded "the government needs to be replaced."
The controversial law forcefully mandating hareidi enlistment was pushed through by erstwhile allies Yesh Atid and Jewish Home, with Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett praising the "historic law." MK Yoni Chetboun of Bennett's party defied party discipline and voted against it, an action for which he was punished, and Yogev likewise noted his opposition to the bill.
As a result of the law, hareidi draft figures nosedived dramatically.
Those trends were pointed out as early as June, a mere three months after the law was passed, when Rabbi Avraham Brun, former Chairman for 25 years of the Hesder Yeshivas Association, told Arutz Sheva that hareidi enlistment had fallen sharply and said he hoped the High Court would invalidate the law.