A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
July 4, 2012- Plessner Report Presents Plan to Draft Haredim, Netanyahu Picks Haredim Over Non- Haredi Israel
The Plessner report came out today. The report presented a comprehensive plan to equalize the burden of national service on all Israeli citizens. The goal of the Plessner plan is to get to point where 80% of the Haredi men of draft age end up serving-either in the army, or in some capacity in civil service- within the within the next 5 years. The plan has a combination of carrots and sticks, including rewarding Yeshivas for students who go into the army, instead of the current system, in which yeshivas lose funding for students who do not serve. Plessner further called for tracking those who claim to study in Yeshivas to make sure they are in fact consistently present. The report's most critical recommendation is to levy personal financial sanctions, such as loss of funding, for those who are not exempt from service (1,500 top scholars a year) and who still choose not to serve.
As I wrote in my Times of Israel article the other day, it was up to PM Netanyahu to either show courage and support the plan, or be a coward and cave in to the Haredi demands. On Sunday, when it became clear that Plessner was not willing to be pushed around, Netanyahu decided to be a coward and officially disbanded the committee. Netanyahu also went further, and pushed the line that the committee that was set up to replace the Tal law was a failure, since it did not deal with the Israeli Arabs. The truth is, that this was never the mandate of the Plessner committee, and even so, its report called for universal service for Arab Israelis as well.
Plessner would not be stopped. Today he published his report with a suggested law to replace the Tal law. Kadima leader Mofaz announced today that if Netanyahu does not change his mind and support the Plessner committee, Kadima will end its brief sojourn as a member of the government coalition. We will see if Mofaz has any self-respect left. Whether he does, or not, many members of his party are liable to bolt anyway.
Saturday night the social demonstrations will be replaced by a large demonstration by those who have been fighting for the draft of the Haredim. This demonstration is being joined by the Israeli Student Union. This rally has the potential of uniting much of the Israeli public together, in a fight against the government position.