update deskIsrael at War

State tells court it’s working on ‘immediate’ conscription of haredim

The government asked the High Court of Justice for an extension of several weeks to complete the plan, after which it will be presented to the judges.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest against proposals for joining the IDF. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest against proposals for joining the IDF. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon.

The Israeli government submitted an affidavit to the High Court of Justice on Wednesday informing the court that it has begun formulating “action plans to realize the conscription of haredi men in the immediate time frame.”

The state added that the Ministry of Defense and the IDF were working on a plan with a longer-term view that would involve the gradual enlistment of haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, Jewish men.

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox disapprove of army service, considering it a distraction from Torah study and a threat to their way of life. However, Oct. 7 has heightened the demands of the general public that the ultra-Orthodox contribute their share to the defense of the nation.

The state also requested an extension of several weeks to give the staff developing the plan enough time to complete it, after which the plan will be presented to the court.

The government noted in requesting the extension that “in light of significant security events during the last 10 days, the staff work on the issue was stopped and no real progress was possible.”

It also said that Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara conceded to the government’s request for independent legal representation on the haredi issue only on April 21, and with Passover beginning immediately following (April 22), it hadn’t time to appoint one.

(Normally, the attorney general represents the government before the court, but when she expressed opposition to the government’s position, it requested separate representation.)

Even though Baharav-Miara submitted the state’s position to the High Court on Wednesday, the government still insists on a private attorney.

The State Attorney’s Office criticized the government’s request for independent representation. Deputy State Attorney General Gil Limon sent a letter to Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs on Wednesday accusing the government of attempting to undermine his office.

“This course of action is a continuation of the attempt, which is part of what was called the ‘legal reform,’ to weaken the status of the attorney general, bypass it, and harm its ability to protect the public interest and the rule of law,” Limon wrote.

The hearing before the High Court, which is expected to be heard by a panel of nine justices, the maximum, is scheduled to take place on June 2.

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