Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her—Revelations 17:7
"Deer of the Almond Tree" is the unlikely name of the Member of Knesset chosen by PM Netanyahu to chair the Committee for Sharing the Burden.
Ayelet Shaked heads the commitee preparing the Conscription Law.* A secular member of The Jewish Home, MK Shaked is a key figure in the shaping of the law that will define how Ultra-Orthodox Jews will serve in the secular-Zionist Army.
"Deer of the Almond Tree" is a good name for a shepherd girl ("Ayelet" is a feminine-possessive form) with almond eyes, herding kind animals on an emerald green meadow. MK Shaked is nothing of that. She grew up and lives in Bavli,$ the Babylonian neighborhood of Tel Aviv, one of the wealthiest and more exclusive areas of this rich city. The only place where she saw deer was on the most expensive television set while sipping exclusive tea imported from Himalayan slopes.
If born in the Zionist stratosphere one experiences odd turns in life. Shaked was a member of the Scouts and won the class elections in Ironi Dalet (City School #4) representing the Likud party. The Scouts in Israel are related to right wing parties.+ In local slang, she is a "tzfonit," a "northerner, " who had been richly pampered since birth.
In the army, she was an education coordinating soldier in the Golani Brigade. Not much to do in such a post, which is invariably kept for attractive women. Free again, she studied electric engineering in Tel Aviv University. After that, things got odd. Between 2006 and 2008, she was the director of Netanyahu's bureau. Inexplicable. Oh, those non-almond eyes.
In 2008, she and Neftali Bennet left the bureau. When the latter created the Jewish Home on the hot ashes of the National Religious Party, Shaked joined him. In the 2013 elections, she entered the Knesset as number 5 in the party. Shortly after, she was chosen by her old boss to head the new committee.
It was not out of yearning to a youth love. Netanyahu placed her there in order to kill the law that he was publicly promoting.
In February 2014, the Committee is pretty much on the same place where it was on February 2013. The new Conscription Law is on the same spot that in was on February 2012 after the Supreme Court annulled the Tal Law, which exempted Ultra-Orthodox Jews from serving in the army.
Ultra-orthodox Jews oppose to their draft. The new law was one of the two causes that forced Netanyahu to call early elections and to lose power in them. After the elections, the Ultra-Orthodox were left out of the government, creating an almost unprecedented situation. The State of Israel was the result of an alliance between secular-Zionists and Ultra-Orthodox Jews. If breaking the alliance, Zionism loses legitimacy.**
"Delay and Rule" was Netanyahu secret directive to Shaked. She complied.
On February 14, 2014, this game ended. Following one of the petitions to the Supreme Court that plague this case, the Court announced that a new law must be legislated until the end of this month. Otherwise, Ultra-Orthodox Jews must be conscripted according to existing laws.
"The Judicial Branch won't aim a gun at our heads," Chief of Staff Gantz said on the same day while testifying at the Committee.
It is easy to understand the distress of Lieutenant General Gantz. On February 3, he fell victim to what have been called the Ultra-Orthodox WikiLeaks.
An unknown party disclosed that Brig. Gen. Gadi Agmon, Head of Planning at the IDF Manpower Directorate held secret talks with Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, head of the Lithuanian sect of Haredi Judaism, a key figure in the leadership of Ultra-Orthodox Jews.++
Both tried to reach an agreement regarding the terms acceptable for the conscription. Other leaders, who oppose such talks and conscription, leaked the event. The media-torpedo sunk the talks-ship.
Bypassing the IDF
"Ayelet, my Bambi, can you fix the mess that Gantz created?," Bibi said.
Shaked saw that coming. The Court ruling was inevitable in the long term. Gantz can bomb Gaza but can't drink Darjeeling tea as civilized people do. Bambi pulled out her sharpest knife, which had been carefully polished during months. Shinier than the sun, the knife could cut a planet in two.
The knife was baptized "Conscription Law." In response to the Court ruling, the Shaked Committee published the almost final draft of the law. Reading it slowly, General Gantz was shocked to discover that the Conscription Law deals mainly with exemptions from military service.
After laboriously reading the draft for the third time, he exclaimed "This is the anti-Draft Law!"
The main points of the proposed bill are:
* Every Ultra-Orthodox Jew will be able to get a delay of one year in the military service by request.
* The government will be able to change the recruitment quotas at will. One of the issues dealt during the last year was the creation of draft-quotas on Ultra-Orthodox colleges. If failing to provide the demanded number of conscripts, the institutions would be fined.
* Ultra-Orthodox men that reached the age of 22 before the end of the legislation would be exempted of service, and would be able to work legally.
* The quotas will include every man that volunteered to any of a number of activities, including Chabad conversion centers abroad.
* The government will be allowed the delete fines of those institutions failing to meet their quotas.
* The law will not set quotas.
* The Minister of Defense will be allowed to give 1,800 personal exemptions per year to ultra-Orthodox men.
"That's my girl," Bibi whispered.