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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Heh: Plesner himself proposed deferring Haredi army service to age 26

In what is perhaps the best indication yet of the extent to which the battle over 'sharing the burden' is a populist gimmick, Channel 10 revealed over the weekend that MK Yochanan Plesner (Kadima), who is now leading the charge to draft all Haredim at age 18, proposed in May that Haredim be able to defer army service until age 26.
Likud officials said yesterday they believed that they could get Kadima to back down from its position on the bill. That is because it emerged over the weekend that Plesner had worded a bill on army service for Haredim, a week after his Kadima party joined the coalition in May, which was similar to the formula Ya’alon is now proposing. Plesner says he vehemently opposes Ya’alon’s plan.

The existence of Plesner’s May proposal was revealed by the news website Nana 10.

According to Ya’alon’s bill, the ultra-Orthodox could defer service until age 26. However, Plesner’s wording from his May bill says the same thing: “The defense minister may postpone for one year the drafting of a candidate for military service for purposes of study of the Jewish religion. He may postpone the candidate’s service for additional periods of one year each, as long as the sum total of the periods does not exceed eight years − in other words, from ages 18 to 26.

But the bill produced by the committee Plesner headed allowed for deferment of service only until age 22. After that, a yeshiva student would have to choose between national civilian service and military service. According to the Plesner committee’s bill, the defense minister could exempt from Israel Defense Forces service exceptionally bright students − known in Jewish tradition as iluim.

Plesner’s proposal from two months ago also sets milestones for the drafting of the ultra-Orthodox. “The defense minister will formulate regulations within three months of the drafting of this law, quantitative goals for the draft and for national civilian service, so that within five years from the passing of the law, it will be applied in full.”

Ya’alon’s proposal states that the full draft of the ultra-Orthodox will be completed by 2016.

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