Israeli panel advances measure on haredi military service

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Knesset committee advanced a bill requiring 18-year-old haredi Orthodox men and women to register for military service, with a deferral of up to three years.

Under the bill submitted Thursday by the Peri Committee, also known as the Knesset Committee for Promoting Equal Share of the Burden, those who do not register for the draft could be jailed.

Some 1,800 yeshiva scholars would be exempt from service each year. Some 8,000 haredi Orthodox 18-year-olds are drafted each year.

The bill also calls for an increase in the number of months of army service for national-religious hesder yeshivas, from the current 16 months to 24 months, by 2016.

The Cabinet will debate the measure next week.

The Peri Committee was set up last year and charged with integrating the haredi Orthodox community into Israel’s military after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in February 2012 that the Tal Law, which had allowed haredi men to defer army service, was unconstitutional.