According to Israeli media, the hardline Jerusalem Faction called for protests on Wednesday after a yeshiva student was detained for failing to appear at the IDF draft office when called up.
On his way to Meron, the student, who attends Ponevezh Yeshiva, was detained. The “criminal conscription law which has drafted yeshiva students into the army” outraged the Jerusalem Faction.
The rabbis of the “Committee for the Salvation of the World of Torah” will visit Rabbi Asher Deutsch at his home to discuss the details of the massive public campaign after learning of his criminal arrest, according to the group.
The Torah world will mobilize in support of the young Israelis who are suffering in the appalling conditions of the army as a result of the criminal conscription law, and they will scream ‘oppression’ in protest. To shock the entire world about the arrest of the Torah world prisoners who do not report to the conscription offices, as our great Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach commanded us.
The ‘Committee for the Salvation of the World of Torah’ claimed that it will continue to abstain from appearing at draft offices and accused haredi MKs of passing the law mandating yeshiva students to appear at draft offices.
In accordance with Israeli law, haredi yeshiva students who sign a declaration at a draft office claiming that “Torah study is his occupation” (“Torato Umanuto”) are de facto excluded from military duty. The system allows yeshiva students to postpone their duty, which is repeated each time they reach the conscription age and become exempt from serving.
Although the State Comptroller and campaigners promoting equal conscription requirements have complained of inadequate and insufficient implementation of the law, the arrangement legally mandates those employing this method to spend almost exclusively their days learning in yeshivas.
Around 400 students were using the mechanism when it was first established in accordance with a deal between haredi leaders and Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. Since then, tens of thousands of students have used the agreement to avoid performing military service.
The coalition’s haredi parties have threatened to overthrow the administration in recent weeks if legislation exempting all yeshiva students from military service is not passed as soon as the Knesset reconvenes for its winter session in October. A further requirement made by the parties is that any such law be “immunized” from judicial review.