Nahal Haredi - Archive
Nahal Haredi soldiers training. Photo by Archive
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The Finance Ministry has given up on its proposal to lower the age for permanently exempting ultra-Orthodox men from military service from 35 to 22.

The proposal was included in an earlier version of next year's Economic Arrangements Law.

Instead, when the cabinet meets to discuss the 2011-2012 two-year budget today, the treasury will propose that a working group be appointed to address draft policies regarding Haredi men.

The team would discuss the national need to integrate the ultra-Orthodox into the workforce, as well as the budgetary burden of the various allowances that Haredim receive, including child allowances and guaranteed income grants.

The group would present its recommendations to the cabinet by October, and the cabinet would discuss the findings then, before the Knesset is presented with the 2011-2012 budget.

The Finance Ministry's original proposal was to set targets for the number of yeshiva students to be drafted every year, starting with 1,200 in 2011, then 1,500 in 2012, 1,800 in 2013 and 2,500 by 2015.

In addition, the Israel Defense Forces would have been given the authority to permanently exempt Haredim with two or more children from military service at age 22.

The proposal to be presented to the cabinet today does not change the age for exemptions, but it does recommend establishing a committee to supervise the implementation of the current law on the matter, the Tal Law.

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima ) said he was satisfied with the change, and called granting Haredim military exemptions at age 22 akin to moral bankruptcy. He called for the establishment of alternative service tracks for Haredim, including National Service.

The IDF and Defense Ministry also objected to the treasury's original proposal, claiming it would encourage the religious to avoid the draft.