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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Haredi national service enlistment hits lowest point since December 2008

Only 29 Haredim enlisted in national service during the month of March according to this report on YNet (which has been printed out and hung up as a giant poster in some Haredi neighborhoods). That's the lowest monthly enlistment number since December 2008 (link in Hebrew).

According to the article, 108 Haredim enlisted for national service in February (which was already a decline), which means that the month-to-month decline from February to March was 73%.

The article goes on to report on the trend of Haredi leaders subscribing to 'extremism' in which all Haredi boys will be told not to report at all to IDF recruitment centers. If that were to happen and the boys were to listen (which they likely would), the IDF and the police would be faced with a Hobson's choice of arresting thousands of AWOL draft-age boys, or admitting that they cannot enforce the law.

According to the article, the 'extremists' are seeking another joint meeting of the three branches of the Haredi leadership (Lithuanian, Sephardi and Hassidic), with a view toward calling for all Haredi boys not to appear at the recruitment centers, while the 'moderate' camp (or so YNet claims) is trying to defer such a meeting.

Last week, a Haredi boy who had been arrested for not appearing at a recruitment center was released, causing a mass nighttime celebration in the center of the city.

There are wall posters in all of the Haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem, which call on the boys to go to jail rather than the army. At the demonstration, there were signs that said "come and get me at 3:00 am also" - a reference to the military police method of operation of searching 'missing' boys' family homes at 3:00 am in order to harass the family. To date, the police have yet to appear at any yeshiva, and since the Tal law was canceled, the boys are no longer obligated to notify the IDF once every six months where they are studying.

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