JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet approved a plan to draft more haredi Orthodox young men into military and civic service.
The plan approved Sunday, by a vote of 23-1 with one abstention, will raise the number of haredi Orthodox draftees to 4,800 — half each for military and civic service — by 2015.
The government will allocate some $36 million to prepare combat frameworks to absorb draftees from the haredi Orthodox sector, and another $19.5 million to develop new civic service frameworks that will be acceptable to the sector, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the vote an unprecedented and important decision that will increase the number of haredi Orthodox young men in the military and in civic service, encourage their integration into the labor force and help create a more just sharing of the burden in society.
"We will not allow a growing proportion of the ultra-Orthodox public to be exempt from service ostensibly due to ‘full-time religious studies,’ " he said. "The State of Israel cannot endure this."
Last month, a Cabinet vote on a recommendation to release most haredi Orthodox from military service in exchange for civic service was postponed.