Israel given three extra months for new bill on drafting more haredi Orthodox students. It could trigger new elections.

Israeli police scuffle in Jerusalem with haredi Orthodox men protesting the arrests of two yeshiva students charged with draft evasion, Oct. 19, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli police scuffle in Jerusalem with haredi Orthodox men protesting the arrests of two yeshiva students charged with draft evasion, Oct. 19, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Supreme Court has given the government three months to implement legislation that would have more haredi Orthodox yeshiva students drafted into the military.

The implementation of a new draft law likely will trigger the fall of the current government and new elections sometime in the first three months of 2019.

Last September, the Supreme Court struck down a law that increased the number of draft exemptions for the haredi students. The court gave the government one year to rework the draft for haredi men.

The court’s ruling on Tuesday fell well short of the government’s request for a seven-month extension.

In July, a bill setting military enlistment quotas for haredi yeshiva students passed its initial reading in the Knesset over threats from haredi lawmakers to bring down the government if it becomes law.

The legislation requires that a minimum number of students serve in the military or the government will reduce the annual budget allocation for their yeshivas. The target will increase each year for 10 years.

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the haredi United Torah Judaism party said he would resign from the government if the new law were approved.

Secular and non-haredi Israelis have long complained that far too many young adults studying in yeshivas are exempt from mandatory army service. Haredi leaders say army service would corrupt their youth and distract them from their studies.

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