In an 8-1 decision, The High Court of Justice on Tuesday, 21 Elul, eliminated the 2015 law regulating military service for Chareidim, a law which the Chareidim already view as compromise legislation.
The dramatic court ruling gave the government one year to pass a new law before default regulations kick in, which will require drafting all of-age men, with no exemptions for Chareidim R”L.
The law struck down was a 2015 amendment to the Equal Service Law, cancelling a more aggressive draft law lobbied for by Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party which sought to dramatically increase the number of Chareidim inducted to the IDF. That law passed in 2014. The amendment was passed in 2015 following the Knesset elections, when the Chareidi parties demanded it as a prerequisite to join a coalition led by Likud.
The High Court of Justice decided, in a majority opinion against the dissenting
Justice Noam Solberg, to accept four petitions to the court — three of which claimed the current arrangement discriminated against non Chareidim by not supplying them exemptions, and a fourth that argued it discriminated against Chareidim who are being asked to increase their military draft rate while other minorities, especially Israeli Arabs, are not required to serve at all.
The likely first step is to begin the process of legislating a law that will bypass the High Court decision, but it is unlikely the secular Kulanu party, which is a member of the coalition, would back such a bill.
Chareidi MKs responded furiously to the High court’s decision.
The first was MK Yisrael Eichler, who said this evening that “the High Court continues to tie the rope around the sources of oxygen to its public legitimacy. The Supreme Court justices have given personal responsibility for an all-out war against the Jewish religion.”
“The Torah will not be harmed, and its eternity is guaranteed to us forever. The one who will lose this ruling is the High Court of Justice and the State of Israel. Already at the opening of the session, we will join hands with other circles in the Knesset, who were hurt by the arm of the dictatorial regime in the court of law. Together we will work to pass a law that will reduce the ability of the High Court of Justice to harm Judaism and distort the laws of the Knesset.
“We will fight against anyone who tries to harm Torah scholars in the Holy Land,” he said, adding that yeshiva students would continue to study the holy Torah until the coming of the Messiah”.
Other chareidi MKs responded, using terms including “miserable and terrible” to describe the court’s decision.
Health Minister MK Yaakov Litzman said in response that “this is a miserable and bad decision that will enter the history of terrible rulings in the Jewish world. The High Court justices proved today that they are averse to Gedolei Torah in Israel and are curbing the steps of holy yeshiva students whose Torah is their profession.
“We will not allow any force in the world to prevent anyone from studying Torah, and it has been proven that any such act of coercion against Torah scholars, by law or any sanction, is doomed to failure. Torah study in the Jewish people throughout the generations, “said Litzman.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)