Cabinet approves haredi enlistment bill for passage to Knesset

The cabinet voted on Sunday to approve new legislation for for passage to the Knesset, where a first reading is scheduled for Monday. 

The bill stipulates annual enlistment targets which increase every year for ten years, and financial sanctions in the form of steadily increasing reductions to the budget for haredi yeshivas should enlistment targets not be met.

Be the first to know –

Shas leader and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri initially abstained from the cabinet vote, but according to his office did so mistakenly and subsequently requested from the cabinet administration to change his vote to “against,” a request which was accepted.

It was reported on Sunday that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has raised serious concerns regarding the law, including opposition to the fact that the financial sanctions will only take effect in three years time.

According to a report on the Walla news website Mandelblit is also concerned that funds cut from the yeshiva budget will simply be redirected to the yeshivas through different avenues.

Although the haredi parties are expected to either abstain or vote against the bill on Sunday, it is expected to pass due to the somewhat surprising support of Yesh Atid for the legislation.

And despite their apparent opposition, the haredi parties do not plan to topple the government over the law, seeing it as “the lesser of two evils” in the words of Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, the most senior leader of the non-hassidic haredi world.

Bizarrely, although Deri voted (eventually) against the law in cabinet, he called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to institute a High Court override clause in the haredi enlistment bill to stop the court striking the law down, despite his opposition to it.

An aide to Deri explained that what Deri meant is for the override clause to be included, to allow further changes to be made in committee to the current version of the legislation.