Israeli Defense Minister Supports High Court Ruling Nixing Haredi Draft Exemption
JNS.org – A day after Israel’s High Court of Justice canceled the country’s law that exempts Haredi Jews from compulsory IDF service while studying in yeshiva, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman voiced support for the court’s ruling.
“Anyone over the age of 18 must enlist,” Lieberman said Wednesday at an event marking the Jewish New Year.
“We’re not waging war on the haredi parties or the High Court,” he said, insisting that a “common sense approach” was being applied to the issue of haredi conscription in the military.
On Tuesday, a panel of nine judges headed by outgoing High Court President Miriam Naor ruled eight to one in favor of striking down the haredi exemption from IDF service.
The court’s ruling, which will come into effect within a year, prompted an emergency meeting of the haredi political parties on Wednesday.
“Those who wish to study the Torah will do so without interruptions,” said MK Meir Porush of the United Torah Judaism. “No one will remove us from the world of the Torah.”
The issue of haredi military enlistment has become a flashpoint in Israeli politics in recent years, with the country’s secular majority calling for the religious to share their burden of national service.
The religious sector has overwhelmingly boycotted service in the Israeli army, with few exceptions. This is mainly due to the perception that the army — run and founded by secular elements of society — does not provide an appropriate and safe framework for religious participants.