The reform and the truth

Hiddush sent cabinet: Guide to the False Reforms

The heads of Hiddush to the ministers: ‘You’re told of a revolutionary military recruitment goal, and in practice all of the kollel students are being exempted from the draft; you’re told that the living stipend for kollel students is being restricted, but no kollel student will lose his stipend’

Haredim at recruitment office Flash90Haredim at recruitment office Flash90

Hiddush – For Freedom of Religion and Equality wrote to all the government ministers on Friday, December 17, 2010 and called on them to vote against the false reforms in connection with the Tal Law and the Avrechim Law.

Hiddush attached to its missive a Guide to the False Reforms. The guide details what the government has told the public about the reforms, what the reforms really state, and what should and must be done.

In the document sent to ministers Hiddush’s head, Rabbi Uri Regev, and vice president of research and information, Shahar Ilan, write: “There is nothing revolutionary about the plans, and more than they are historic they are disastrous.” According to Regev and Ilan, “the reforms in the living stipend and the Tal Law try to whitewash the harsh reality instead of dealing with the tough problems. They perpetuate the discrimination between people, guarantee deterioration of the economy and security, and undermine national solidarity. They therefore endanger the future of Israel and Zionism.”

Regev and Ilan write to each minister: “We appeal to you not to take part in the false reforms. These pseudo reforms should be rejected out of hand, and real reforms enforced. Even in politics there are moments when you have to do the right thing. We hope that you will find the courage to do so.”

With regard to the reform in the Avrechim Law, the government claimed that payment of a living stipend to every kollel student will cease after five years, the number of stipend recipients will be restricted, and the decision will help spur kollel students to go to work. Hiddush’s guide

reforms in the living stipend and the Tal Law try to whitewash the harsh reality

shows that not a single kollel student will have his stipend cut off. The seniority of kollel students will be calculated from the date of the government decision, and so its implementation will begin only five years from now. Kollel students aged 29 and up, who constitute more than 80% of stipend recipients, will continue to receive a stipend regardless of their seniority.

Regev and Ilan call on the ministers to put the decision into effect in another six months to a year. That is the only way to make the reform real.

The government claimed that the decision to grant an automatic exemption from military service to kollel students aged 22 and up would be rescinded. It also announced that the number of enlistees in military and civil national service would be doubled within five years. The recruitment target for yeshiva students for 2015, for civil and military service, is set at 4,800 people.

And the reality? Not only has the decision to grant automatic exemption from military service to kollel students aged 22 and up remained unchanged; it has been joined by a decision to grant automatic exemption also to unmarried yeshiva students aged 24 and up. Instead of being drafted into the military, yeshiva students will be able to perform a brief civil service. Therefore not only will the so- called reform not bring about an increase in the number of enlistees, but it will likely reduce it.

The decision for the first time formally exempts from the draft an entire segment of the Jewish population and thereby dismisses the principle of its being the people’s army.

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