Posts Tagged ‘draft’
Thousands of men protested the military draft in a demonstration Tuesday night held in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea Shearim.
The demonstrators were specifically protesting the recruitment of hareidi-religious male students.
Most males in the hareidi-religious sector continue their studies past the age of 18, the age at which all Israeli youths are drafted for military service. Instead, they prepare for a life of Torah study in a kollel (rabbinic study hall). Some train to become Torah scribes, highly skilled religious slaughterers of kosher meat, Torah adjutants, rabbinic teachers, and so forth.
Recently changed laws have mandated instead that many of these young men must interrupt their studies to serve in the military, sometimes in environments not conducive to Torah life.
Hareidi-religious leaders have vigorously fought this trend, citing the difficulties of catching up with learning that was lost during IDF service, and the struggles to re-adapt to a yeshiva lifestyle after the military.
Not all hareidi-religious students are suited for such a life, however, and many do enter the military. Those who do, however, have faced a complex set of challenges both within their communities and within the IDF as well, during their service and upon discharge.Hana Levi Julian
The IDF plans soon to change its policy and begin drafting soldiers who are HIV-positive.
If and when that happens, young Israeli teens who until now were unable to join their peers in army uniforms due to their medical profiles will be channeled into non-combat positions.
Up to this point, HIV-positive individuals were automatically ruled unfit for service due to their medical condition. But if the proposed policy change is approved at the higher echelons, that will change.
“These recruits will undergo extra medical tests by a team of military and civil physicians prior to their draft,” Lt. Libby Weiss, head of the IDF North American media desk told JewishPress.com. “If all their examinations check out and they are completely healthy other than their HIV status, they will enter the military with a physical profile of 45.”
Weiss explained this will allow HIV-positive soldiers to serve in a variety of positions, “including technical support, intelligence and cyber warfare.”
Such recruits will be assigned to posts where medical personnel are kept informed of their status and maintain an active connection with their outside physicians. This is an exception to the norm, which mandates soldiers to restrict their medical care to military medical staff.
“In the case of the HIV-positive soldier, medical personnel on base will be in close contact with the outside treating physician,” said Weiss. “But in any case, only soldiers who are entirely in control of their condition would be accepted to serve.”
Over the past 10 years, the IDF has sometimes allowed HIV-positive individuals to volunteer when they insisted on enlisting, after lengthy interviews and examinations.
The move again places the IDF in a leadership role, Weiss said, pointing out that “Israel is the first nation to allow HIV-positive soldiers to serve” in its military.
“It is a very important step,” she said. “By accepting HIV-positive recruits into the army, we also reduce the social stigma around the virus that causes AIDS, and the stigma these people face in society.”
The new policy emerged from within the medical corps, which periodically reviews enlistment medical criteria. It now goes to IDF Chief Medical Officer Col. Dr. David “Dudu” Dagon, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for approval before it can take effect.
“I don’t think we are talking about a long process,” Weiss said. “It won’t be within a week or two, but it also won’t take years, either.”Hana Levi Julian
(JNi.media) There may be a coalition crisis brewing under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s watch, over a split between his two religious partners and the rest of his narrow, 61-member Knesset majority, Israeli media reported Thursday. The rift is over the new ultra-Orthodox conscription legislation, which some Likud and Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu MKs are rejecting. The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is expected to meet Thursday to approve amendments to the “equal burden” bill, in accordance with Netanyahu’s coalition agreements with the ultra-Orthodox. The plan was for the approved bill to go to a House vote next week, but now there appears to be a wrinkle in that fabric.
A group of several coalition MKs from Likud and Kulanu are opposing the committee’s proposed changes. The ultra-Orthodox, for their part, have made it clear that the issue is a deal breaker, meaning that Netanyahu would have to look for 13 new members to support him should the bill not go through the committee as agreed.
After the establishment of Netanyahu’s third government in March 2013, a ministerial committee headed by Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid) recommended an IDF conscription plan that would exempt only 1,800 exceptional yeshiva students each year, demanding that the rest serve like everyone else (hence the title, “equal burden”). The Committee recommended imposing economic sanctions on educational institutions that don’t meet recruitment targets, while yeshivas with high enlistment rates would be rewarded financially. The Committee also recommended that if conscription targets are not met, criminal proceedings should ensue against individuals refusing to enlist. The legislation was passed in March, 2014.
Last Monday, the Knesset approved in a first reading the draft amendment to the conscription law, postponing the application of criminal sanctions against ultra-Orthodox recruits, and extending implementation procedures of the existing law which was passed by Netanyahu’s 3rd government. The postponement of criminal sanctions is part of the coalition agreement signed by Netanyahu 4 with the ultra-Orthodox parties. Netanyahu and the coalition faction whips made a commitment to Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) to being the amended law to a second and third readings in ten days from last Monday.
The new law proposes two adjustment periods, one to be extended until June 30, 2020, to allow for an examination of the law’s effectiveness, followed by a second adjustment period, lasting through June 30, 2023. If enlistment figures by then would comply with expectations, the law would stay as is; otherwise, the defense minister of that time would be free to alter the arrangement to reach the recruitment targets set by the government in this law.
“Why do we need to postpone the implementation of the law by six years?” one coalition MK, who is member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, wondered, speaking to NRG. “A three year postponement is not enough?”
Coalition members are also resentful of the language in the law that hands over to the defense minister legislation power that belongs to the Knesset, enabling him or her to unilaterally alter the law of the land.JNi.Media
(JNi.media) An Israeli soldier who was detained in Armenia over the past two months was released early Thursday morning and is on his way back home, Ma’ariv reported.
Arik Martoian, 18, was born in Armenia, made aliyah to Israel at age 5, and has since been an Israeli in every respect, including his military service in the Israeli Air Force, at the Sde Dov Airport in north Tel Aviv. He says he even gave up his Armenian citizenship, along with the rest of his family, because it was clear to all of them that they were in Israel to stay. But last August, Martoian used his vacation from the Air Force to take a two-week trip to the old country, and when he came to the airport to board his flight back, he discovered to his shock that his exit was blocked and he was still considered an Armenian citizen, which also meant he was obligated to enlist in the Armenian Army.
Arik’s friends launched a protest campaign on Facebook, to gain public attention. “The army does not care about its soldier, but we will not give up,” one friend told Channel 2 News. “It’s a shame for the IDF to abandon a soldier like this, exposed to harm, simply a shame.” Arik’s friends were going to rally in the streets if there were no reaction to their Facebook campaign. But then Attorney Eyal Platek, from Haifa, who is also an IDF Colonel (Res.), took it upon himself to rescue Arik, after the Army and foreign ministry had made it clear that diplomatic efforts to release him have failed.
Arik’s friends told Channel 2 News harsh things about the conduct of the Army, which in effect is responsible for the young man’s well being, since he is an enlisted Israeli soldier. They also condemned the foreign service. “He called the consul and doesn’t get a call back, talks to the Army and nothing happens,” they said. “Why do you only get help in this country if you’re a hostage?” they asked with unconcealed fury.
“I am a prisoner here, I can’t wrap my brain around this absurdity,” Arik told Ma’ariv after the story had been exposed. As late as one week ago, he was fearing for his life, because his story was making headlines in Armenia, and he could become the target of countless anti-Zionist groups identifying with Iran or ISIS.
Wednesday night, Arik told Ma’ariv: “It’s the height of excitement for me. I’m sure I won’nt be able to sleep tonight, and unlike other nights when I could not sleep because of fear, tonight I won’t sleep because of my excitement.”
Attorney Platek would not reveal the details of the rescue operation he conducted from a war room in Israel. He only agreed to reveal that MK Oren Hazan, who has been reviled by the left in Israel in recent months for his colorful career prior to being elected a Likud MK, was extremely helpful, and blasted the prime minister’s office and other government agencies with requests for help. In the end, though, Platek says the bureaucracy let him understand that if he didn’t do it himself, Arik would not be rescued.JNi.Media
At least four hareidi-religious men were arrested Sunday in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea Shearim during a demonstration protesting the arrest of a rabbinical student last week. The student refused to comply with his draft notice to enlist in the IDF.
Several hundred demonstrations gathered at the Kikar Shabbat intersection in the neighborhood at about 3 pm. The protest soon escalated, with demonstrators blocking traffic and hurling rocks at police officers who were sent to the scene.
Israel Border Guard police officers were called in to back up Jerusalem District police officers. Extra patrol units have since been deployed to the neighborhood.Hana Levi Julian
56 Hareidi Yeshiva students were arrested on Monday in mass protests against the arrest of 4 Hareidi draft dodgers the other week.
24 protesters are still being held in jail and the police are asking that their detention be extended, the rest were released.
Four students had files opened against them for violence and arson.
One student is suspected of hitting a policeman in the face with a metal bar.
The Hareidim are protesting against the arrest of 4 Yeshiva students who didn’t show up to the IDF draft office for review after they received their draft notices.
The protests were held in Jerusalem, Ashdod, on Road 444 near El Ad, at the Shilat junction near Modiin Ilit, and at the Bar Ilan bridge near Bnei Brak.
The most violent protest was in Ashdod, where 41 of the 56 students were arrested.Jewish Press News Briefs