Kristine L Ming

IDF clamps down on Yeshiva exemption violators

The army has discovered some 4,000 young haredi men, who have received an exemption from military service because they are supposedly full time yeshiva students but are not in fact living in accordance with a religious lifestyle.

According to a report on Ynet, the IDF has ramped up its enforcement of the laws pertaining to military service evasion and exemptions in the last year, and has been clamping down on registered yeshiva students who do not study for the requisite number of hours per week.

Full time yeshiva students are able to obtain repeat, one-year military service deferrals from the age of 18 until they receive a final exemption at the age of military service exemption, which is 24, but they must study for 45 hours a week at a recognized institution.

According to the report, IDF personnel in the army’s manpower directorate have in recent months conducted searches on Facebook and other social media sites for the names of men aged 18-24 who were supposedly studying in yeshiva.

The searches found that many of these men had posted pictures of themselves on social media sites at the beach, at social gatherings, and befriending girls at various social activities.

“Many people in the haredi sector have Facebook,” one official in the IDF Manpower Directorate told Ynet, adding that they had discovered that “many are in yeshiva but they are not really in yeshiva.”

“As soon as we discover that one of these youngsters isn’t fulfilling the conditions of his service deferral we cancel his status [as a full time yeshiva student], after he is summoned to a hearing and presented with the evidence, and after he is granted the right to appeal.”
He said that although the IDF has always undertaken enforcement measures, increased use of social media in the haredi community had made it easier to identify people who were not fulfilling their obligations.

Many youths who have been caught out in this fashion, have been issued with enlistment orders and have begun their IDF service. Others have successfully appealed the revocation of their status as yeshiva students and have returned to their yeshivas.

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