Gov't ties haredi civil service to IDF exemption

Hiddush for Freedom of Religion and Equality director Rabbi Uri Regev: This recommendation turns discrimination into official government policy.

The Gabai committee will advise the government to renew the sweeping exemption from military service to married haredi (ultra-orthodox) yeshiva students over the age of 22, provided that they serve one year of civil service.

Hiddush for Freedom of Religion and Equality director Rabbi Uri Regev said, "This recommendation is an abomination. It turns discrimination between people's blood into official government policy and destroys the nation's army."

In July, as part of the package of decisions known as the "economic policy for 2011-12", the cabinet decided to allow yeshiva students over the age of 22 to serve one year of civil service instead of military services. Currently, yeshiva students up to the age of 26 with no children must perform military service. The measure removed the defense minister's right to draft suitable yeshiva students into the IDF.

The decision is buried in the hundreds of pages of the economic policy program, and was revealed by an exposé by "Globes". After Hiddush, the Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden, and the Movement for Quality Government in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice against the decision, the government postponed its implementation of the exemption several time, and set up a committee to review the matter, chaired by Prime Minister's Office director general Eyal Gabai.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 16, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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