The Israel Defense Forces has revoked exemptions to some 4,000 men who claimed they were yeshiva students.
The men were found to be living a secular lifestyle or were not studying 45 hours per week at a yeshiva as required, Ynet reported, citing a senior official in the IDF’s Manpower Directorate.
Some of the men have received their reissued military orders, and others have begun their service, the report said. Yet others have appealed the decision and provided proof that they do, indeed, study in a yeshiva.
The IDF has used private investigators to uncover the draft dodgers, and have also discovered Facebook pages that give the young men away with photos showing them engaging in activities on Shabbat or hanging out with women, which ultra-Orthodox men are not permitted to do. Deferments were also revoked over photos on social media of “thousands at the beach in clothing considered immodest by the Haredi sector,” the report said, although there are no such restrictions on Haredi men.
“We give the time to study to whoever needs it. We’ve discovered a lot are registered to a yeshiva, but don’t actually attend. We’ve always enforced — what’s new today is the use of social media in ultra-Orthodox society. We can easily reach them on Facebook and can do a lot of detective work using a smart phone,” an unnamed official told Ynet.
An attorney representing one of the students was quote to the effect that his client went through a “crisis” period and has since resumed his studies.
“Indeed, my client has sinned, and recognizes that certain times in his life were not lived based on religious demands or even his expectation of himself… The military is being more strict than the Hazal [the Jewish sages], who said ‘Even though he has sinned, he is still a Jew,'” he said.