Makor Rishon reports that the IDF has designed new guidelines for drafting Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Jews now that the Tal law has expired and no substitute legislation has been put in its place. The plan must take into account that the IDF will now draft and integrate thousands of Haredim into the army.
The first significant difference is that all eligible age Haredim that get their draft notices will no longer receive automatic exemptions or deferrals.
As a result of the change in the law, the IDF is putting together a number of subtracts specifically for Haredim, though no new “Haredi Only” divisions or brigades will be created. Some of the units have women serving in them, and the IDF says the role of women will not be negatively impacted by the introduction of Haredim who prefer not to interact socially with women beyond what is allowed by their community’s mores.
Special criteria will be defined for “Iluiyim” (exceptional scholars), and everyone not defined as an “Iluiyi” will be drafted.
The plan was developed by the IDF Human Resources Dept., has been presented to Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz and is now awaiting approval by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
A senior officer in IDF HR said, “We need these people, this isn’t just lip service.”
Some 5000 Haredim have served in the past decade in the IDF, and the Prime Minister’s office has told the army to prepare for 2400 new Haredi soldiers each year.
The officer continued to explain that, “Haredim currently serve in computer units, the Air Force, and in Intelligence. And it’s been very successful.”
Despite the success of “Haredi Only” units, such as the Netzach Yehuda combat battalion, the IDF has decided to not expand that model and prefers to distribute and integrate Haredim across a wider range of units.
Highlights of the IDF Guideline Document for Drafting Haredim
> Those who are not fit for any of the IDF options will be sent over to do Civil Service, to work in the fire department or MDA.
> Haredi service will not negatively impact women’s service in the IDF. In some of the units where Haredim will serve, women will serve as well.
> Married Haredim will not serve in combat units, and will go home every night.
> No new “Haredi Only” units will be established. Draftees will be embedded into existing divisions.
> The IDF will decide the number of “Iluiyim” (exceptional geniuses), and what percent of each draft they make up. Those who are not “Iluyim” will be drafted.
> At the draft centers, the number of male doctors and medical staff will be increased.
> 5000 Haredim were drafted in the past decade. 85% then integrated into the workforce after the army, most from skills they learned in the army.