Knesset set to pass IDF draft bill, despite haredi opposition

A bill that would pressure ultra-Orthodox young men to enlist by threatening economic penalties enjoys broad support but is opposed by haredi parties.

By: World Israel News Staff

The Knesset was set to vote on a bill Monday afternoon that aims to increase enlistment of male ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students by penalizing their educational institutions for failing to meet quotas.

The penalty was added to the legislation, which was formulated by a special IDF committee appointed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, after the Supreme Court found the previous legislation to be discriminatory against secular Israelis who do not have the option of indefinitely postponing mandatory army service.

Two haredi parties in the government coalition — Shas and United Torah Judaism — said that their rabbinic leadership opposes the legislation and they will vote against it.

However, Yesh Atid, an opposition party that has championed the cause of universal conscription — including among Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community — said it would support the bill.

Other opposition parties such as the Zionist Union said they would oppose the legislation because it does not go far enough toward enforcing the law, which dictates that all Israelis of military age (18 years old) must serve.

The bill is expected to pass but will require two additional plenum votes to become law.

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