The Israel Defense Force can take in more religious soldiers and must finds a way to do so, army chief Benny Gantz told Haaretz in an interview, referring to an expected change in Israel’s enlistment laws after the Supreme Court ruled the existing legislation unconstitutional.
When asked about the possible ramifications of the annulment of the so-called Tal Law, Gantz said: “That’s a question for the politicians to decide. What I’m looking for is equality in service.”
The IDF chief said hopes should be kept down as to the immediate consequences of a change in enlistment laws, adding: “Don’t expect me to open two more elite infantry brigades tomorrow morning.”
“But I think we need to see how we expand the extent of [Haredi] service and open more tracks,” Gantz said, adding that the state should prioritize “more alternatives” for more effective ways in which charedi soldiers could be used, beyond exclusively ultra-Orthodox units.
Gantz added that he recognized a desire, both among the charedi community and greater Israeli society, to incorporate ultra-Orthodox soldiers into the IDF and national service tracks, so that they could “be involved.”
“I’m not a missionary organization. Not a single charedi soldier will be discharged secular,” he added.
According to Gantz, a desirable arrangement would give the IDF first pick at choosing candidates to be enlisted to its ranks, with those the army doesn’t see a need to enlist redirected to national or civilian service.
The decision on how to run a new model, he emphasized, must be made on the political level, and not by the IDF. “They can seek advice from us about the way in which things can be done, [things] which the political level wants done,” he said.