Haredi lawmakers tore their clothes as a sign of mourning and held a special prayer service after the Knesset approved Yesh Atid’s draft-reform bill on its first reading by a vote of 64 to 21 on Tuesday morning.
MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) also handcuffed himself to the microphone as he spoke from the Knesset podium.
The bill, drafted by the committee headed by Jacob Perry (Yesh Atid), stipulates that Haredim who have reached age 18 will be obligated to join the army starting in 2020. According to the bill, over the next seven years — three years after the acclimation period that has been set for the reform — Haredim will be able to defer their enlistment until the age of 21 “to study Torah.”
In early July, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein gave his opinion about the bill, saying that while there was “no constitutional impediment” to accepting the proposed arrangement, some regulations in the bill were “problematic” and compromised equality.
Weinstein’s criticism of the plan focused mainly on the benefits that the Haredi enlistees would receive starting at the end of the acclimation period (July 2017) until the date that was not set in the original proposal.
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