Haredi draft committee releases results despite dissolution

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Plesner committee, charged with formulating a new law on haredi Orthodox military service, said that by 2016, 80 percent of haredi Orthodox males will serve.

The committee, also known as the Keshev Committee, released its preliminary findings Wednesday, despite being dissolved on Monday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Several members of the committee had resigned in recent days, including members of right-wing coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu.

The committee’s report calls for universal service for all Israeli citizens – including mandating the draft of haredi Orthodox men and upgrading the National Service program for the Arab sector. It also calls for formulating an effective enforcement system and incentives for serving.

The report called for individual financial sanctions against draft dodgers, as well as sanctions against yeshivas that prevent their students from entering the draft.
In February, the Israeli Supreme Court declared that the Tal Law, which allowed haredi Orthodox men to defer service indefinitely, to be unconstitutional, and set Aug. 1 as the deadline for a new law to be passed.

Kadima Party leader Shaul Mofaz has threatened to pull his party out of the national unity government, formed two months ago, over Netanyahu’s decision to dissolve the committee. The largest party in the Knesset, Kadima, joined Netanyahu’s governing coalition in May with the stated objective of formulating a new military service law.

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