Jerusalem – In response to calls this week by leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis for yeshiva students not to report to the IDF draft office upon receiving their preliminary call-up papers, IDF officials have said that all interviews and medical examinations of ultra-Orthodox men will be conducted exclusively by men going forward.
The tentative compromise was reached after yeshiva students said they were forced to endure “humiliating physical checkups” when they reported to the draft office, according to an article in Yediot Ahronot (http://bit.ly/QEYlxb). One student said, “The army has lost its mind. They don’t understand what such a yeshiva student goes through. When he takes the bus for one hour, he makes sure that it’s a kosher bus, and here they just throw him into a secular environment with girls for a whole day of checkups?! People came back from there in complete shock. It’s no wonder the rabbis responded the way they did.”
Knesset Members Yakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni briefed Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman and Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach on the proposed agreement with Defense Ministry representatives, which involves adjusting the draft process to meet yeshiva students’ religious needs.
In a statement, the army said, “The proposed adjustments include conducting personal interviews by men only and editing the questions in order to match the haredi society’s lifestyle. As for the issue of the physical checkup, it should be noted that every military service candidate is given the right to choose the gender of the examining doctor.”
The rabbis have threatened to stage mass protests against the army until the agreement is finalized.