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Expiration of Haredi Draft Deferments Hurtles Israel into Brave New World – Analysis

Herb Keinon
Jerusalem Post, Apr. 1, 2024

“Hamas’s attack on October 7 spelled the end of judicial reform, meaning that the haredim would find it difficult to get the type of law they wanted giving wholesale deferments past the High Court of Justice.”
 
Ultra-Orthodox men aged 18 to 26 who – as of April 1 – do not go into the army can be considered draft dodgers. Why? Because there is no legal framework – no defense minister order or state law – enabling deferments from IDF service for full-time yeshiva study. As of April 1, some 66,000 haredim from the age of 18-26 can – at least technically – be drafted into the army.

Good luck getting them in.

Regardless of the practicality of drafting all those 66,000, or the estimated 12,000-13,000 who have reached army age this year, the absence of any defense minister order or Knesset law that could provide a basis for deferring army service due to yeshiva study – an annual deferment that transitions into a blanket exemption at age 26 – is a significant milestone in Israeli history.

Since the establishment of the state in 1948, there has always been some legal framework in place enabling deferments. Right now, no such framework exists.
Lacking any legal framework facilitating deferments – despite more than 25 years of trying to establish one through Knesset legislation – the High Court of Justice last week ruled that the state can no longer pay the monthly stipends it pays to yeshiva students of army age.

These payments are not made directly to the students, but through the yeshivot where they study. A single student receives NIS 455 a month, and a married student receives NIS 855.

 … [To read the full article, click here

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