New Draft Law postpones haredi IDF service

A new Draft Law circulated among senior members of the government late Thursday night has abolished reforms meant to enforce IDF service for the haredi population, pushing off the mandatory draft for the sector by another five years.

Under the previous government, the IDF draft – which is mandatory for all Israelis over the age of 18, except for Arab citizens who generally do not serve – was introduced to the haredi population in a series of stages. The current stage: a “trial” period meant to increase the haredi draft by degrees.

Now, however, this “trial” period will end in 2017, Channel 2 reports – and full enforcement of the draft has been postponed until 2020.

A secondary “trial period,” meant to replace the first, will now be enacted from 2020-2023, wherein the haredi community will be expected to follow the law vis-a-vis the draft – but criminal sanctions will not be enforced in the event draft goals are not met. The Defense Minister serving at that time will be tasked with handling the next steps in the event that becomes the case.

Several demands of the law have not changed, however, including a requirement that the number of haredi soldiers drafted increases every year, with a target goal of 15,000 by 2020.

Behind the new laws were Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), who worked together with representatives of the haredi parties to achieve a compromise to far tougher laws enacted under the 19th Knesset.

The explanatory note behind the amendment explained that the previous law evoked strong opposition among the haredi community, and threatened to amputate a positive process that began before – with the adoption of a gradual and steady increase in the number of recruits expected for the group, “which occurred anyway without the destructive threat of [mandatory] conscription dangling over their heads.”