New Right party chairman Naftali Bennett published his party's alternative to the draft law, which Yisrael Beyteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman insisted on as a condition for joining the coalition.
The program, entitled "From Discrimination to Integration", seeks to focus on integrating the haredi sector into the employment market rather than insisting on enlisting the haredi sector in the IDF.
"The issue of enlisting haredim into the IDF has become an endless source of quarrels between extremists on both sides, and the proposed solutions over the years, including the proposed draft law today, ostensibly because the government was not formed, do not address the real problem: The State of Israel, through these laws, creates a life of poverty and dependence on hundreds of thousands of haredim. It's bad for the haredim and bad for Israel," Bennett said,
"The New Right is presenting a plan 'From Discrimination to Integration - a practical and fresh approach based on a thorough study of the issue: 1. Reducing the age of exemption from military service for haredim from the age of 24 to the age of 21 so that they can study a profession at a reasonable age and work in quality jobs throughout their lives. Tens of thousands of young haredi men will acquire a quality profession, support their families with dignity and will be productive for the Israeli economy for a lifetime. 2. Appropriate compensation for all IDF soldiers in compulsory service: a monthly salary of NIS 3,000 for all combat soldiers of the IDF.
"In light of the fact that only about 50 percent of young Israelis now enlist in compulsory military service, the fair value is to give them a special reward that will give them a better starting point for life. This benefit will also encourage young haredim and others to join the IDF, and will operate for eight years, with control and measurement of the results for every year," Bennett noted.
"The current outline of the Ministry of Defense is, in our opinion, very bad for the haredi youth and for the State of Israel: The haredi man goes to yeshiva at the age of 18, and if he stays there until the age of 24 he is exempt from military service. And if he stays there until the age of 24, he is exempt from service in the IDF, and until the age of 24 he is not allowed to study a profession and work. This is a crime! And according to existing law, in 2020 the age will rise to 26.
"Many tens of thousands of haredim remain in yeshivas between the ages of 21 and 24, because they forbid them to go out to work and acquire a profession, and some of them will grow up to be Torah scholars, and this is wonderful because we see Torah study and the continuation of the chain of generations as a central value in the State of Israel. But many young haredim, whose inclination and desire is not to study at the yeshiva or are not suitable for it, also remain in yeshiva, only because they have no other choice. They are simply waiting, some of them inactive, until the age exemption," Bennett explained. During those years, they could learn a profession, go out to work, and create tax revenues for all of us. Instead, many of them (those who will not become scholars) miss their most important years! By the time they are released at the age of 25, they are already married and have 3-4 kids, with no chance of vocational education, and are sentenced to a life of support by charitable foundations and family assistance."
"With the demographic growth rate of the haredi population, it will collapse on us all. 27% of all children in first grade are haredim, and if they do not go to work, the Israeli economy will collapse. Young haredim go out to work at a rate quite similar to the rest of the public," he said.