A poll commissioned by Gesher and Ynet reveals the majority of Israelis favor compulsory military service for chareidim, reporting 72% favor such a move as opposed to today’s reality in which many chareidim are permitted obtain a deferment from military service.
72% of the adult Jewish public favors compulsory chareidi service in IDF. 51% favor compromise, to get chareidim to enlist on their own. 54% of respondents feel the law must apply to all citizens equally. 18% feel serving in the IDF is the fulfillment of a mitzvah. 13% oppose forced draft of chareidim.
The poll included 508 Israeli adults representing a cross section of the Jewish population. The poll does not address compulsory draft of Arabs. The poll was commissioned after the High Court ruled in February 2012 that the Tal Law cannot be extended and that it will expire on August 1, 2012. Efforts are now underway to draft a new law that will address the current status quo vis-à-vis the chareidi tzibur and military or national service.
51% feel the draft law should be enforced. This includes; 60% of the religious community 58% of the traditional community 49% of the secular community
7% feel chareidim should not be drafted and among this group, 3% feel the military can manage without them and 4% feel the Torah study protects us.
The Ynet report adds that if the chareidim are indeed compelled to serve, 38% of respondents feel that chaos would follow.
18% predict there will be a split among chareidim. 12% feel civil war will result. 3% feel it will pass quietly. “We believe that social change will come from public pressure and dialogue between the sectors,” Gesher Executive Director Ilan Geal-Dor said. “The chareidi sector is undergoing dramatic changes, and the general public must aid them to integrate in the military or civil service. This process will take years, and cannot be rushed through conflict.”
In a related matter, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning, 7 Iyar 5772 met with reservists’ representatives Boaz Nol, Idan Miller, Yoav Kish, Zohara Berger-Tzur and Yotam Berger in his office. Mr. Netanyahu said, “The division of the burden must be changed. What has been is not what will be. This is our second meeting in recent months. I know that there are many hitchhikers who voted to automatically extend the Tal Law. I am not one of them. The Tal Law will be replaced by a more egalitarian and just law, and I will submit it. The new law will also include civilian service for Arabs. This must be done without setting public against public. The change will entail expanding frameworks and increasing budgets. This is high on the list of priorities for the security of the state.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)