Team will write new military draft law

Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz will be part of the three-member team to write an Israeli law on equality in military and national service.

Mofaz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on the team, which was announced July 8. The team will formulate the law on haredi Orthodox military service based on recommendations of the Plesner committee, which Netanyahu dissolved July 2, citing the number of members who quit. The committee issued its preliminary findings despite the dissolution.

The committee’s report calls for universal service for all Israeli citizens, including the drafting of haredi Orthodox men and upgrading the national service program for the Arab sector. It also calls for an effective enforcement system and incentives for serving. The report calls for individual financial sanctions against draft evaders, as well as against yeshivas that prevent their students from entering the draft.

The announcement of the vote and the team came a day after some 20,000 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv calling for a universal draft that would include haredim and Arab Israelis.

In February, the Israeli Supreme Court declared the Tal Law, which allowed haredi Orthodox men to defer service indefinitely, to be unconstitutional, and set Aug. 1 as the deadline for a new law to be passed. — jta