Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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29 Sivan 5765 - July 6, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











New Regulations for Military Deferments

by Eliezer Rauchberger

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee passed a series of changes to the law providing for the deferment of military service for full-time yeshiva students. After consulting with his party, MK Uri Ariel (HaIchud HaLeumi) broke a tie vote and was joined by Danny Yatom (Labor) in support of the proposal, which passed four to two. No-votes were cast by Tomi Lapid (Shinui) and Yossi Sarid (Meretz).

The new regulations set a series of definitions on the status of yeshiva students, which yeshivas are authorized to grant military deferments, which students are eligible to receive deferments, set times of the year for submitting requests, minimum study hours, travel abroad, and other details.

Although not a member of the committee, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni took an active role in the meetings held to discuss the regulations, explaining the various clauses, persuading committee members of their importance and refuting claims raised by Meretz and Shinui. He also worked to reduce the number of mandatory hours of study for avreichim from 45 per week, as required of yeshiva students, to 40 per week. It should be noted that this means registered hours in an official kollel. Many avreichim learn on their own at other times but without official registration. There is no recognition of this in the regulations.

According to the regulations yeshivas are authorized to sign induction deferment forms on condition they have at least 35 students of whom at least 25 are potentially liable for army service. A kollel must have at least 15 avreichim of whom at least 10 are potentially obligated to serve.

A yeshiva student will be eligible for a deferment only if he was enrolled in a yeshiva in Israel or abroad continuously from the time of his 16th birthday. Those recognized as "chozrim betshuva" according to army regulations can receive deferments even if they did not study in a yeshiva from the age of 16.

Candidates for induction who have not yet received a deferment may submit requests until 1 Nisan preceding the date on which they are scheduled to report for duty. Those who have already received at least one deferment can submit a request for an additional deferment until 14 days before the old deferment expires.

In addition to the deferment form, applicants must submit a letter from the rosh yeshiva or rosh kollel and a declaration listing the days and hours he studies at the yeshiva or kollel. Avreichim who study half a day at one kollel and half a day at another must bring letters from both kollelim.

Applicants under the age of 23 receive deferments of up to six months while applicants 23 and over receive deferments of up to one year.

The new regulations explicitly state that a yeshiva or kollel student is not required to study during the bein hazmanim breaks in Nisan, Av and Tishrei.

Yeshiva or kollel students under the age of 22 may spend up to one month abroad once every three years; those age 22 and over may travel once per year and from the age of 29 whenever authorized by the head of the Induction Authority. Under certain circumstances the head of the Induction Authority may authorize foreign travel that deviates from the above guidelines.

A yeshiva or kollel student who transfers from one institution to another must notify the army within 14 days. The rosh yeshiva is also required to notify the army of the change.

The regulations also state that the Minister of Defense may include on the list of yeshivas and kollelim authorized to issue deferments only institutions the Yeshiva Committee recommends for recognition. The Defense Minister may remove a yeshiva or kollel from the list if it is found to have issued a deferment to a student who did not fulfill the requirements or if it is found to have fewer than the minimum number of students.


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