Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather during a protest against their military conscription outside a military prison on December 9, 2013 in Atlit, Israel. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Two weeks after the Supreme Court of Israel froze funding to ultra-Orthodox yeshivas whose students deferred their IDF drafts, a Knesset committee has taken the next step towards enforcing ultra-Orthodox conscription. The Knesset committee responsible for drafting legislation dictating Haredi army conscription approved a provision to the equality of service bill yesterday which would impose criminal penalties on Yeshiva students who don’t fulfill their IDF service, the Times of Israel reports.

Under the bill, Haredi men between the ages of 18 and 24 can claim army exemptions only one year at a time. During a projected three-year transition period, a quota for the number of ultra-Orthodox enlistees will be set and increased steadily. If the Haredi community meets the 2017 quota—5200 enlistees—they will have to continue meeting the quota. If, however, they fail to meet the quota, all ultra-Orthodox men will be drafted into the army—facing criminal penalties if they do not.

The ultra-Orthodox community has responded by threatening protests for early next week. The amended equality of service bill is expected to be presented to the Knesset in the coming weeks.

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