Haredi Jews may be force-recruited into Israeli occupation forces
Out of 50,000 Ultra-Orthodox young adults who are eligible to join the Israeli occupation forces - only 1,200 are signed up.
The more religious slice of Israeli society rejects recruitment into the Israeli army, which may opt for a chaotic recruitment-by-force situation from the authorities. As this issue reflects a grueling domestic conflict from within, the Knesset looks to attract Haredi Jews by services and material means.
It is estimated that there are about 50,000 Haredi orthodox young adults in occupied Palestine who are eligible for military recruitment in the Israeli occupation forces (IOF). However, only 1,200 are signed up, as of 2019 statistics.
As per Israeli policy, the population is forced into military conscription, meaning they must serve in the occupation army - or else will serve time in jail. However, the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community typically does not, and has always criticized the policy. Attempts to integrate them into the IOF, several times, has ended in failure.
The Israeli government, though, has been trying to change that.
Three weeks ago, the Knesset passed a bill -- needing two more readings -- that would integrate more Ultra-Orthodox men in the military.
A Haredi journalist, Yanki Farber, suggests that if the bill comes into effect, it will be met with anger and opposition.
He said, "Every Orthodox mother is afraid that her child, who enrolls in the [IOF], will come out not as religious. It happened in my family too, when I decided to enlist and people were shocked at the sight of me wearing a uniform."
"Forcing Haredis will not work, and if the [IOF] really wants these 50,000 boys, it will need to think how to integrate them into the service", he added.
The Israeli government has financed millions of dollars into trying to make this integration work, creating special units of Haredi soldiers, trying to attract them by providing services. However, the IOF has been too financially focused on dragging Haredis into its ranks and bombing Palestinians, that they neglected the most basic living standards.
Haredi Jews have demands that the IOF cannot apply: Restrictions regarding being in contact with women soldiers, praying 3 times a day, a Jewish-friendly kitchen, not working on Sabbath and more.
As a result, neither the Haredi Jews wished to enroll, nor did the IOF really need them.
However, Israeli politicians are still on the run, looking for a solution. Ferber contends that the Israeli authorities will not hold back to use force and violence to get the Haredis into the occupation forces.
"There is a chance that the government will condition investments in religious educational institutions on military service. But I can tell you, this trick will not work. The Haredis don't care about money that much anyways. People from the community will not sell their souls, and if they need to choose between a buck or a yeshiva [religious school], they will choose the latter", Farber stated.
A number of religious parties pledged their commitment to opposing the bill, entailing that mutiny may be on the table if the government were to force the recruitment of the religious slice of society.