Two yeshiva bochurim who Israel says illegally dodged the army draft for eight years were sentenced to imprisonment – one for two months and the other for three.
“This is a punishment that is too lenient with the defendant and unreasonably reduces the penalties usually given under similar circumstances, military prosecutor told the court.
“This is the longest period of draft-dodging. A period during which the State has faced complex security challenges. The defendant failed to enlist though he was well aware of his obligation to do so, or at least to settle his status,” the prosecutor said in regard to one of the yeshiva bochurim and his inability to make an effort in order to be granted exemption.
The defense attorney argued that his client, 27, asked the help of his yeshiva head, and therefore assumed the matter was settled. “He felt that people more authorized than him to handle the matter are taking care of what is needed so he could go on with his studies,” the counsel said.
As for the yeshiva student who was sentenced to two months in prison, the court approved a plea bargain signed with the military prosecution.
The charedi draft bill will be brought this week before the Peri Committee, the ministerial members of which are expected to pass the law. Committee chair, Minister Yaakov Peri of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, said that the bill offered a “true revolution.”
The bill has encountered some resistance over the past few days, as the Yisrael Beiteinu party announced Thursday it will not support the charedi recruitment bill if the Equal Share of the Burden Committee does not require that Arab citizens enlist as well.
Member of Knesset Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) also expressed his resistance, saying that “the enlistment reform bill is detached from reality and will not be implemented.” Fellow party member Meir Porush called the proposal a “miserable bill designed to crush the world of Torah,” and added: “The future of our existence is in danger. There should be Knesset committees to reform the secular education, which creates criminals and murderers, rather than recruiting yeshiva scholars for army service.”
The committee suggested drafting some 65% of charedim at the age of 21 following a three-year transition period. The proposal calls, among other things, for economic sanctions against yeshivas whose students evade IDF service.
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