Knesset votes on Haredi Draft Law
Knesset votes on Haredi Draft LawDanny Shem Tov/Knesset spokesperson

The Knesset plenum approved early Tuesday morning the continuous application of the Draft Law that will exempt haredim for whom "Torah is their craft" from service in the IDF.

63 members of the Knesset voted in favor of the bill, and 57 voted against, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Besides Gallant, all Knesset members from the coalition voted in favor of the law

The approval of the proposal will allow the coalition to advance the bill put forward by MK Benny Gantz in the previous Knesset on the drafting of the haredim and to continue the legislative procedures from where they left off in the previous Knesset.

In this way, the government will be able to bring the bill to the Knesset for its second and third readings in a short period of time.

The legislation lowers the age of exemption from mandatory service for haredi yeshiva students from 26 to 21 and “very slowly” increases the rate of haredi enlistment in the IDF.

The proposal states that the status of yeshiva students will be regulated, thousands of haredim members will enlist every year, and haredi yeshivot will continue to benefit from budgets from the state.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told reporters before the vote, "I was not coordinated with Gantz and I am still not coordinated with Gantz. I am from the Likud and will remain in the Likud. I look at the soldiers in the eyes and they expect us to back them up. [They expect] that we will not do petty politics on the big backs of the soldiers."

The National Unity Party said after the vote, "The Prime Minister and the coalition proved tonight that they returned to October 6. During wartime, as IDF soldiers are fighting for their homeland, they are fighting to perpetuate the exemption from service. It is not too late to pass a broad and comprehensive outline that will satisfy the security and societal needs."

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman blasted the approval of the legislation.

"In the dead of night, while the finest of our sons and daughters are fighting on the battlefield, the Israeli government took another step towards the evasion law, which does serious harm to IDF soldiers and reservists, and contrary to the needs of the defense establishment - all for political survival. The citizens of Israel deserve a different leadership that will be worthy of them."

Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid slammed the approval as well.

"One of the most despicable moments of shame of the Israeli Knesset ever. In the midst of another day of fighting in the Gaza Strip, the reckless government passes a law of evasion and refusal. It's all politics. Zero values," said Lapid.