newsIsrael at War

Defense minister delays drafting haredi yeshivah students

Gallant is said to have delayed the move in an effort to leverage negotiations to boost enlistment of ultra-Orthodox men through cooperation.

Ultra-Orthodox youngsters protesting outside an IDF recruitment center. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon.
Ultra-Orthodox youngsters protesting outside an IDF recruitment center. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has ordered the IDF to temporarily postpone sending draft notices to haredi yeshivah students, as political negotiations continue over legislation regulating the conscription of ultra-Orthodox men.

The decision comes about a month after the High Court of Justice ruled that the long-standing exemption allowing haredi men to defer mandatory military service must end. The court also ordered the cessation of state funding to yeshivas during the interim period before new laws are enacted.

While the military says it has complied with the ruling by preparing draft orders for yeshivah students, Gallant has blocked their delivery for now. Officials familiar with the matter say Gallant aims to “successfully draft haredim” through potential political agreements rather than unilateral conscription that could spark a confrontation.

“We don’t want to send notices and start a struggle that will not really lead to drafting haredim,” one of the officials said. “We are seeking to exhaust political processes that may provide backing for drafting haredim through cooperation, which will lead to more effective conscription.”

The delayed draft notices have drawn criticism from those who view it as an unfair privilege for the ultra-Orthodox community. However, Gallant’s office argues that a more measured approach coordinated with haredi leaders could improve enlistment outcomes.

In the meantime, yeshivah budgets of approximately 30 million shekels ($8.5 million) per month remain frozen in accordance with the High Court ruling as the legal framework is revised.

The Defense Ministry has received recommendations from a committee led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Eliezer Shkedi that studied haredi conscription. Key proposals include a pilot program at IDF induction centers, focusing on recruiting men not engaged in full-time Torah study, establishing haredi-oriented prep courses and opening all military roles to ultra-Orthodox conscripts.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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