Government to ask High Court for more time to file response in Haredi draft case — source

An illustrative photo of the High Court of Justice convening in Jerusalem on October 6, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of the High Court of Justice convening in Jerusalem on October 6, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The government will likely file a request to the High Court of Justice asking for an extension to today’s deadline for submitting a response to petitions demanding the immediate drafting of ultra-Orthodox men, a source in the Justice Ministry says.

It’s still unclear if Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara will support such a request. Several Hebrew media outlets report that the attorney general will not back what would be the second request for an extension; her office does not respond to a request for comment.

According to the Kan public broadcaster’s political reporter Yaara Shapira, if Baharav-Miara does not offer her support the government’s request will be conveyed to the court by Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs. The broadcaster also reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told representatives of allied ultra-Orthodox parties that he would promote a private bill exempting yeshiva students from military conscription following the upcoming Knesset recess.

Hebrew media reported earlier today that Netanyahu was considering asking for an extra 10 days from the court, which earlier this month gave him until March 27 to file a response to petitions against a government resolution passed in June 2023 instructing the IDF not to draft ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students for nine months.

If Netanyahu does not submit a response, the justices stated that they would rule on the petitions on the basis of the information they already have.

The resolution expires on March 31 and the government is struggling to reach a compromise between enlistment advocates and the Haredi parties in order to present the court with new legislation on the issue — an effort which has so far failed.

The Attorney General’s Office has previously stated that without an extension, the state will not be legally entitled to continue exempting yeshiva students from military conscription and will need to start enlisting them on April 1.

An initial enlistment outline proposed by the government earlier this week failed to include quotas for how many ultra-Orthodox would be drafted annually, leading Baharav-Miara to inform the government that she would be unable to defend its initial proposal in court.

An updated proposal, which has failed to garner coalition support, called for quotas but did not include specific numbers.ver.”

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