After hearing a facts and figures from various sources, Saar Shalom Jerbi, who oversees state-run national service programs released the official figures pertaining to chareidi enlistment in the latter. Government officials supporting the share the burden efforts to draft chareidim into the military were confident thousands of chareidim would join national service programs as an option to avoid military service.
Jerbi began by stating the Shaked [Share the Burden] Ministerial Committee reported 1,500 chareidim entered national service programs during the year but in actuality, that number stands at a mere 300 nationwide.
Jerbi added that the Shaked Committee added slots to induct chareidim into national programs, especially in Israel Police and the Israel Prison Authority. He reports that a total of seven chareidim entered Israel Police and one the Israel Prison Authority under the national service banner.
In response to Jerbi’s facts and figures, Shaked stated the figures are worrisome, testimony that they failed to compel chareidim to abandon their lifestyle to meet the new share the burden realities.
Jerbi explains that traditionally, older chareidim joined national programs but “now that they emptied the pool” and chareidim 22 and older can receive exemptions from national service, there is a sharp decline in the number of volunteers. Hence the share the burden effort pertaining to national service is a colossal failure.
Shaked turned to committee member MK (Yahadut Hatorah) Meir Porush to ask what can be done. Porush responded it is time to change the government.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)