Interior minister: Being Haredi not a reason to be exempt from military conscription

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel attends a Knesset committee meeting, Jerusalem, April 1, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Interior Minister Moshe Arbel attends a Knesset committee meeting, Jerusalem, April 1, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel of the Haredi Shas party says that ultra-Orthodox men should not receive automatic exemptions from IDF service.

“A black kippa is not a reason to be exempt from conscription,” Arbel says in an onstage interview at the Muni Expo 2024 conference in Tel Aviv.

Large black kippot, usually velvet, are typically worn by ultra-Orthodox men.

The Knesset is expected to vote tonight on whether to approve the revival of a bill from the previous Knesset dealing with the military draft exemption of Haredi men.

If passed, the legislation would lower the age of exemption from mandatory service for Haredi Torah students from the current 26 to 21 and “very slowly” increase the rate of ultra-Orthodox enlistment.

Ultra-Orthodox men of military age have been able to avoid being conscripted to the Israel Defense Forces for decades by enrolling in yeshivas for Torah study and obtaining repeated one-year service deferrals until they reach the age of military exemption.

The issue has gained added urgency after eight months of war against the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip and fighting against Lebanon-based Hezbollah in the north, which has placed considerable strain on the army’s resources, requiring that hundreds of thousands of reservists be called up for duty.

Most Popular