Report: During Liberman's time in Defense Ministry, haredim were given easy exemptions

False medical exemptions were given to haredim, & sons of prominent haredim received easy exemptions, when Liberman was DM, report says.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90

During his term in office, former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's (Yisrael Beytenu) adviser Avi Abuhatzeira helped the sons of senior haredi figures receive exemptions from military service, Haaretz reported Monday morning.

According to Haaretz, documents and testimonies prove that since Liberman was appointed Defense Minister, hundreds of haredi yeshiva students, including the sons of politicians, hasidic leaders, and other well-known figures, received exemptions and leniencies thanks to Liberman's intervention.

According to the report, hundreds of deserters from the extremist Jerusalem Faction received exemptions outright during this period, and a list of leniencies was implemented with regards to the supervision of deferments for haredi yeshiva students.

Abuhatzeira, a close confidant of Liberman's, received requests regarding exemption from enlistment, and he worked daily to provide the requested exemptions. Sources who spoke with Haaretz presented a picture in which the offices of the Knesset members submitted dozens of requests, most of which Abuhatzeira succeeded in solving.

"Knesset members themselves, or their aides in office, connected with Abuhatzeira via direct conversation, message, or email, and he immediately devoted himself to the issue," said one source who was involved in the matter. "This was routine, no one hid it. When Liberman was Defense Minister the haredim had 'a sister in the palace.' Abuhatzeira was like a member of the haredi parties."

Some of the haredi students received medical exemptions after presenting forged medical documents, thanks to Abuhatzeira's intervention. "Some of these cases were such that the chance of receiving an exemption without help were nil," a source outside the IDF told Haaretz.

Liberman has continuously called for increased haredi enlistment, and disagreements over his Draft Law were at the root of the 20th Knesset's dissolution in late 2018, and his party's refusal to join a Netanyahu-led government after April 2019's elections.

"The Defense Minister never interfered, even by hinting, in any instance which had to do with receiving an exemption from military service," a statement from Liberman's office said. "Requests from the haredi sector regarding enlistment, like requests from the rest of the public, were dealt with without interference and in accordance with the decisions made by the professional echelon."

An IDF spokesperson said: "Meetings between IDF commanders and the political echelon and its advisers are handled by regulated policies in the IDF and in accordance with permissions. Meetings of this type with advisers from the political echelon, which were not approved - are not acceptable, and if they occurred without approval, that is a serious problem. The IDF will seriously investigate this article's claims, and the results will be shown to the Chief of Staff. Lessons will be learned, and as much as is necessary, significant steps will be taken against those involved."

Abuhatzeira responded: "Like thousands of other requests which were received by the Defense Minister's office during his term - requests from all sectors in the State of Israel - requests on the subject of the article were handled seriously and transferred to professionals for examination. Everything was done with the approval and authority of professionals."