Once again the Shaked Committee seeking to complete the new chareidi draft law did not vote on criminal sanctions on Tuesday, 18 Adar I 5774. According to media reports, there are too many objections addressing the planned criminal sanctions component of the law, and the committee was compelled to push off the vote again.
The deciding element was pressure applied by the Prime Minister’s Office to delay the vote, and it appears Ayelet Shaked did not wish to act in direct defiance of the prime minister’s wishes in the matter. The developments have moved forward in a surprising fashion as the hesder yeshivos are under enormous pressure for they are viewed by a growing number of Israelis in as poor a light as the chareidim. Once the flagship program of Orthodox Jewry, exhibiting loyalty to a life of Torah and IDF service, hesder soldiers are now viewed as taking advantage of the system for they only serve 16 months, with an additional month being added when the law is passed. Hence, hesder talmidim will only serve 17 months as opposed to male soldiers serving 32 months after the bill is passed.
Once the new draft law is in place, hesder soldiers will serve less than chareidim and other regular soldiers.
There is back room deal making underway as well. Bayit Yehudi may support some chareidi demands in return for chareidi backing for hesder. The prime minister is aware that such a deal would precipitate a coalition crisis with Yesh Atid – with the events as they stand leading to the PMO’s instructing Shaked to postpone the planned vote on Tuesday.
The committee did however vote on certain items, including a declaration that the status of women in the military will not be compromised as a result of the anticipated large chareidi induction. Women’s rights activists fear with the presence of many chareidim in the IDF, women will be barred for a growing number of bases, courses and programs.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)