IDF begins calling up Haredi yeshiva students after exemptions expire

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Illustrative: Haredi students study at the Kamenitz Yeshiva, in Jerusalem, August 22, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Illustrative: Haredi students study at the Kamenitz Yeshiva, in Jerusalem, August 22, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The army has begun calling up ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students this week following the expiration of a legally dubious temporary regulation instructing conscription authorities not to draft Haredim.

At least some yeshiva students who had previously been issued deferments from service were sent an order, known in Hebrew as a Tzav Rishon, to report for a pre-draft assessment, according to Hebrew news site Walla. The students in question had previously received the same order in question before being given their deferrals.

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara on Sunday told the legal advisers of both the defense and education ministries that the process of drafting members of the ultra-Orthodox community into the army must begin the next day.

“Beginning April 1, 2024, there will be no source of authority for a blanket exemption from military conscription for yeshiva students, and the defense establishment must act to draft them into military service in accordance with the law,” wrote Baharav-Miara, in a letter first published by Channel 13 news.

Per the State Attorney’s Office, there are currently some 63,000 enrolled yeshiva students who are legally subject to the draft, but it seems unlikely that military police will begin actively enforcing its conscription orders through arrests.

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