The Jacob Perry Committee program, which includes financial rewards to yeshivas with a high percentage of recruits among its students, and sanctions against those who do not report to the recruitment offices, is triggering many different reactions in Israel today, Thursday.
The enlistment reform on which the committee has been working for the last two months, examining all the necessary balances between the value of military service versus the value of Torah study. The reform will replace the Tal Law, which lapsed following the Supreme Court’s decision last August. The reform determines a gradual process ending with all the Israeli citizens serving the state under the conditions prescribed by the law of security service.
The recommendations determine new rules for sharing the security burden equally, by including yeshiva students as part of the Security Service Act (and taking them off the “temporary” rules which have been in existence for ages), and thus the the duty of the civil service would apply to Haredim. At the same time, the law is also considering the value of Torah study in the mix.
In addition, the proposed law shortens the service of men in the army to 32—from 36—months, and extends the service of women in the IDF to 28—from 24—months.
The new law, should it be approved, will take effect in August, 2013.
But the actual recruitment of Haredim will begin only three years later, a fact that raised the ire of equal burden activists. Three years are an eternity in Israeli politics, which could mean that by the time the serious part of the law comes into effect, an entirely different government will be doing the enforcing.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Haredim, who until now have been limited in what they could do for a living, since going openly to find work could end up with them wearing a uniform, will now be free to pursue real jobs on the open market.
Torah Judaism MK Israel Eichler suggested a complete revamping of the IDF recruitment program, turning the army professional, with good salaries that would attract the very best from all parts of society.
Most Haredi leaders argued that the new law is a blatant attempt to destroy the Torah world in Israel. At the same time, many detractors of the new proposed law on the secular side argue that it needlessly exempt 28 thousand Haredim today, with vague promises about recruiting their younger brethren four years from now.
Still, no one so far has objected to the idea that yeshiva deans will have to account for their students, and decide whether they really belong behind a stander.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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