A draft for the draft
Hebrew media review

A draft for the draft

Ultra-Orthodox conscription takes a step forward, housing issues aren’t getting easier to solve, and a first for a 'price tag' attack

Could these two be in the same unit? In this illustrative photo of an Israeli soldier and ultra-Orthodox man pray at the Western Wall on February 2. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/FLASH90)
Could these two be in the same unit? In this illustrative photo of an Israeli soldier and ultra-Orthodox man pray at the Western Wall on February 2. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/FLASH90)

After a Supreme Court decision brought the issue back into the spotlight, progress has seemingly been made in the drafting of a conscription bill of the ultra-Orthodox into the IDF.

Yedioth Ahronoth calls it “Voting for the draft,” explaining that this coming Tuesday, the Shaked Committee will vote on sending the bill to the Knesset. The committee has agreed on a draft of the bill that sets specific targets, including the drafting of 3,800 ultra-Orthodox in 2014. However according to the proposed bill, yeshiva students can delay their induction until age 24.

Yedioth also reports that a major issue has not been decided yet – the penalty for draft dodgers. The paper says that Yesh Atid’s leader, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, threatened not to support the law and possibly quit the government if criminal penalties were not included.

However, Maariv reports that despite the public bluster over penalties, the issue has already been decided. Unnamed Knesset sources tell the paper that Yesh Atid and Jewish Home agreed that there would be criminal and economic penalties for draft dodgers. But there is still a question that the committee doesn’t have an answer for: what will be the length of service for ultra-Orthodox young men?

Housing issues

Haaretz leaves the draft issue off its front page, instead reporting on the upswing in demolition of Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley in 2013. The paper takes its numbers from a report by the Bureau of UN Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that reports that 390 buildings were destroyed in 2013, compared to 170 in 2012. The paper also reports the Red Cross has decided to stop supplying relief tents to the Palestinians whose homes were destroyed; the reason given is that the IDF prevents the delivery of the tents by either confiscating or destroying them.

Housing issues are also front and center on Israel Hayom’s front page as details emerge of a bribery scandal that has shocked the real estate industry. According to court records, a lawyer who served as an adviser to the planning committees of the cities of Rishon Lezion and Rehovot allegedly received bribes from developers Manor Gindi and Uri Lev. And these were not insignificant bribes, as the paper describes the charges, “Bar received millions of shekels in bribes and favors contractors in exchange for promoting their business.”

Housing issues have struck a chord in Israel since the 2011 social justice protests rocked the country. One of the leaders of the protests, Daphni Leef, was charged for inciting rioting during a 2012 protest in Tel Aviv. But as Haaretz reports, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein wants to drop the charges against her because the offenses are misdemeanors and Leef has no criminal history.

Even Yedioth gets in on the housing subject with a report on the cost of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s housing costs from year to year, finding that the PM actually spent NIS 640,000 shekels (about $180,000) less on his official residence in Jerusalem and his home in Caesarea in 2013 than the previous year. The figures come from a report released by Netanyahu’s office and the reason for the decline is explained due to a decrease in maintenance costs.

Cases opened and closed

Maariv reports that a milestone was achieved yesterday when the first indictments were filed for a “price tag” attack. Three settlers were indicted for torching vehicles in the West Bank village of Farata and spray painting Stars of David on walls in the village. Maariv writes that despite years of trying, these are the first indictments, even after the Shin Bet security service “took off its gloves” and put an emphasis on stopping these attacks.

While the first prosecution against a price tag attack is getting started, Israel Hayom writes that the case against Israeli crooner Eyal Golan has formally been closed. The investigation on whether Golan knowingly had sexual relations with underage girls suffered from a lack of evidence.

But the paper printed some of the police interviews with Golan, who told investigators he was furious with his father. “I told him that my career would be ruined. I was upset about that he brought this into my house.”

In the opinion pages, Haaretz writes that the decision of the Red Cross to stop supplying tents to Palestinians in the Jordan Valley is “a victory for transfer.” The paper describes the demolition in the Jordan Valley as the “other side of the coin of settlement construction.” It claims that both the settlements and the demolitions have the same goal – to block the establishment of a Palestinian state. It concludes by calling the Red Cross decision a red flag to the government to rein in the IDF and Civil Authority.

read more: