Ultra-Orthodox army conscripts jump by 39% surprising everyone

Number defies initial expectations: With over 1,900 haredi men drafted this year & 863 of them taking combat roles, Science & Technology Minister Yaakov Peri says: ‘This proves the new draft law has paved the way toward a social & legislative revolution.’

By Mati Tuchfeld


The number of ultra-Orthodox Israeli men being drafted into the army has risen by 39 percent since the Knesset passed the Equal Sharing of the Burden Bill in March, according to a report presented to the cabinet on Sunday by the ministerial committee, headed by Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, appointed to oversee the implementation of the law.

A young haredi man at the IDF induction center at Tel Hashomer – Photo: Gideon Markowicz

Given the widespread protests the legislation sparked among the haredi community, prompting hundreds of thousands to take to the streets in mass prayer rallies and demonstrations, the number came as somewhat of a surprise. Initial assessments said the number of ultra-Orthodox conscripts would not increase significantly in the first stages of the new law.

This year, 1,972 haredi men were drafted into the army, 863 of whom took up combat roles, compared to 1,416 last year and 1,327 the year before that. Over 11,000 haredim have responded to notices summoning them to the special screening and absorption center for ultra-Orthodox recruits established at the IDF induction center at Tel Hashomer.

“The numbers prove that the new draft law has paved the way toward a social and legislative revolution in Israel,” Peri said.

Under the new law, an increased number of haredim will have to enlist in the military or perform national service starting in 2017. If the conscription numbers are not met, the state will impose financial penalties on the ultra-Orthodox community.

Yeshivas will be able to decide which of their students have to go to the military, and will face sanctions if they do not meet the draft quotas. The bill also gives the defense minister a mandate to defer enrollment until the age of 21, or in some cases 26, and to grant exemptions.


View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=19955