How we got here: A timeline of the haredi conscription crisis

Will it stick, or will there be more items on this timeline? That remains to be seen.

September 12, 2017: The High Court of Justice strikes down the government’s policy exempting ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from military service, saying it’s discriminatory, and gives the government one year to come up with a new policy.

February 1, 2018: Shas and United Torah Judaism lawmakers, as well as Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich, draft a bill titled “Basic Law: Torah Learning,” meant to establish study of Jewish texts as a basic value in Israel. The idea is that if Torah study is as important a value as Israel’s security, one cannot be legally favored over the other. Sources in the parties say they would condition their vote for the 2019 state budget on the bill passing as law, which means a six-week time frame.

February 15: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman sets up a panel in his ministry to draft a haredi enlistment bill “without political intervention.” The committee includes a representative of the IDF Rabbinate.

February 22: The Council of Torah Sages of Agudat Yisrael, one of the parties in the UTJ, reinforced the faction’s budget ultimatum by saying its MKs must not vote on the budget unless the enlistment bill passes an early vote.

February 26
: The breaking point: Shas and UTJ put “Basic Law: Torah Learning” on the week’s legislative agenda. MK Robert Ilatov, chairman of Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu faction, demands that the coalition remove the bill. He says that if it goes to a vote, the party will vote against it. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon of Kulanu also says he’s not enthusiastic and would prefer the Defense Ministry’s version.


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