Better sooner rather than later
82% of Yesh Atid voters want immediate ultra-Orthodox draft
61% of the general public is in favor of an immediate draft of yeshiva students. Hiddush CEO Rabbi Regev: "The public's message is clear. Equality in sharing the burden must begin immediately."
New Yesh Atid Knesset Members celebrating at the Victory Party after the 2013 Elections (from R-L) Rabbi Dov Lipman, Yael German, Pnina Tamano-Shata, Rina Frankel
Hiddush – Freedom of Religion for Israel released polling data by the Rafi Smith Institute regarding the government coalition's plan to delay the draft of ultra-Orthodox(Haredi) yeshiva students for an additional four years. 82% of Yesh Atid voters expressed desire for the Israel Defense Forces to draft ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) yeshiva students immediately (according to the army's ability) and not in another four years, as planned by the government coalition. Only 15% support the plan to delay a Haredi draft for four years. Among the general public, 61% support an immediate draft and among the non-Haredi population, 66% support such measures.
Hiddush CEO, Rabbi Uri Regev, commented, "Just as voters expressed a strong desire for equality in sharing the burden in the elections, so too the public now voiced a clear message that the equality must start now. Delaying the ultra-Orthodox draft for another four years is like inscribing the law on a slab of ice."
Rabbi Regev said that, "The Peri Ministerial Committee (for Haredi enlistment) cannot allow itself to miss out on this historic opportunity. The Committee can and should make the necessary changes to the coalition agreement's plan for the Haredi draft. The Army, according to its ability to enlist new recruits, should begin drafting yeshiva students immediately. The government should apply sanctions to draft dodgers and to yeshivas that encourage such behavior."
Delaying the ultra-Orthodox draft for another four years is like inscribing the law on a slab of ice.
In addition, the poll showed that 25% of the general Israeli public support delaying the draft for four years and 14% do not support drafting yeshiva students. Among secular Jews in Israel, 80% support immediate Haredi draft and only 16% support delaying implementation. 64% of Likud voters support an immediate Haredi draft, 85% of Labor party voters and 79% of Hat’nua and Meretz voters support an immediate Haredi draft.
There is a noteworthy gap between the positions of the Religious-Zionist party "The Jewish Home" voters and the Religious-Zionist population in Israel. Amongst "The Jewish Home" voters, 51% support immediate Haredi draft while 43% support the coalition agreement's plan to delay enlistment. Amongst the Religious-Zionist public, 51% support delaying the draft for four years while only 31% support an immediate Haredi draft. 18% are against any form of draft for ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students. This dissonance strengthens previous claims that "The Jewish Home" received a significant amount of support from non-religious voters in Israel.
*The poll was conducted on April 10 through an internet survey of 500 Jewish Israeli citizens as a sample pool for the adult Jewish population in Israel. The participants were prompted: "According to the coalition agreements, compulsory service for ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students will be pushed off for another four years and not implemented immediately. There are some who argue that this is a necessary measure in order to allow for proper preparation and organization. There are others who claim that the delay will foil implementing the reforms completely. Respondents were given three options: "Support delaying the draft four years," "Believe the Haredi draft should be implementing as soon as possible, according to the abilities of the army," and "Do not believe that (Haredi) yeshiva students should be drafted."