Netanyahu releases amended version of Haredi draft law after AG raises concerns

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"

In the wake of a warning by Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara that she will be unable to defend his proposed Haredi enlistment law as currently formulated, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu releases an amended version setting annual recruitment targets and imposing financial penalties on yeshivas that fail to meet these quotas.

The revised legislation stipulates that the IDF look into establishing a new ultra-Orthodox battalion as well as a civil-technological service track and that the Defense Ministry take steps to prepare for the enlistment of previously exempt ultra-Orthodox men, Channel 12 reports.

It also calls for the legislation to be submitted to the Knesset by May 22, so that it can be completed by the end of June, and that if the proposal expires without being implemented, the government’s previous instructions regarding not enlisting Haredim will no longer apply.

The initial version of the legislation, which is due to be presented to the cabinet for approval today, elicited opposition from multiple members of both the opposition and coalition due to its initial call to raise the exemption age for yeshiva students to 35.

The attorney general had warned that she would be unable to defend the proposal if it was challenged in court, due to unspecified “significant and essential difficulties.”

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