Almog Cohen
Almog CohenArutz Sheva

MK Almog Cohen (Otzma Yehudit) on Thursday morning spoke about the Draft Law, which is expected to be passed during the Knesset's winter session.

"I think that all the haredim need to enlist," he told Radio Darom. "The government tried to do it by force, ithat didn't work."

He added, "We need to create the right framework for them, so that they can come and serve."

Cohen noted, "The army is not prepared to enlist all the haredim. This is a technical question which is very fundamental. I am allowed to say what I want, because I served for many years. I am saying very clearly: We need to find the right frameworks, like we did with the Border Police - we opened a haredi company which is appropriate for their religious needs and beliefs."

"This, by the way, is the heart of democracy - that freedom of religion is preserved."

According to Israel Hayom, the new Draft Law will lower the age at which exemptions are given from 26 to 22, in order to allow haredim to enter the workforce earlier.

Many haredim currently take "yeshiva student" exemptions, which are given in order to allow yeshiva students to continue studying Torah full-time instead of joining the army. These exemptions, however, are dependent on the individual studying full-time in yeshiva, and do not allow those exempted to enter the workforce. Haredim generally marry around the age of 20, so a man in his mid-20s whose exemption is dependent on him studying in yeshiva is therefore unable to take a job in order to support his growing family - even if he would like to do so.