The Yesh Atid party has found itself at the center of more than a few political storms during the current Knesset – and its only “so-called “chareidi” member, Dov Lipman, speaking to Arutz Sheva, said that despite media reports to the contrary, implementation of the recently-passed draft law is going “very well”, and that the reason for chareidi hostility to the bill is the “huge gap” which exists both between the realities of the law and what the chareidi press has been reporting, as well as between the chareidi leadership and the rest of the community.
However, he cautiously suggests that those gaps – and in particular the former – are closing, and insists that far from alienating the chareidi public, the enlistment bill is speeding up their integration into Israeli society.
Regarding the law itself, Lipman clarified that “hysterical” predictions that it would usher in a campaign of arrests targeting the chareidi community were simply false. Far from targeting chareidim specifically, he claimed, the law explicitly states that until 2017 chareidim will still be treated more leniently than other Jewish Israelis, and will not be criminally sanctioned for avoiding the draft. After that date, the only change will be that the chareidi sector will be treated the same as any other group, in that if they dodge army or national service they may face criminal proceedings.
As proof, he pointed to the fact that the campaign of mass-arrests predicted by many chareidi spokespeople “never materialized”.
When asked why his party opted for criminal, as opposed to financial sanctions – such as those proposed by the Jewish Home party – Lipman pointed out that in the initial coalition agreement Yesh Atid had indeed supported the financial option. However, legal experts had warned them that such a bill would be discriminatory and almost certainly fail in the courts.
“The families of non-chareidim who dodged the draft could turn to the court and ask ‘why should our son sit in jail? We’re also willing to pay a fine instead!'”
Furthermore, he added, such measures would be genuinely unfair, since they would create “a situation where the rich would simply be able to pay their way out of army service, and the poor would suffer.” Read more here.