Sep 24, 2012

Going To The Rabbanut for an Army Exemption (Religious Girls)

Today I took my daughter to deal with the IDF. She recently received her initial draft notice. Even though she is young, the process starts now - the process of interviewing and getting medical clearance and all that. And for religious girls the process of declaring intent - intent to either serve, do National Service or apply for a religious exemption starts now.

My daughter opted to get her religious exemption, which any female in Israel can legally request if they do not want to serve in the army for religious reasons - the army being considered an inappropriate place for religious girls (the belief is that the army is an inappropriate place for any female, but the agreement is that religious girls can get that exemption).

The process is like this. After the young woman gets her teudat zehut, which she can do from age 16, and after she has received her draft notice from the army, the applicant must go to the offices of the Rabbanut (in our case in Jerusalem) and declare before the rav, the dayan, that she is religious and wants an exemption from the army.

For us the process was very simple. it is a bureaucracy like any other, so while for some it might be smooth and efficient, for others it might be slow and troublesome. The Rabbanut office in Jerusalem, where the beis din sits, is on King George 24. That is just after the Mashbir building, across the street (on the same side of King George).

What happens is that you basically wait your turn among people who are there to get divorced, and they fit you in in between divorce cases. I personally think that should be changed, but that is the way it is. It is difficult to find information about this, as the Rabbanut websites, and in the building as well, has no information posted about what needs to be done for this army exemption declaration or where one needs to go. So, you go into the building and go to the "secretary" on the main floor. This is a guard who tells people when to go into the clerks and deal with what needs to be done. if you are there for a divorce or filing a lawsuit in beis din, you get a number and wait until you are called. If you are there for an army declaration, you just wait and he calls you in between people.

So, we sat with a clerk for a few minutes while she printed the paperwork. It cost 43 NIS and required a signature on the declaration. With that done, she sent us upstairs to the room where the dayanim sit and hear cases.
clerks area of Rabbanut for initial clearing

waiting in hallway outside of dayan's room 

Again, there are people in line waiting for their court cases to be heard, or continued, and there are other young women also waiting for their declarations or whatnot. There was one family there with about 20 people and witnesses regarding a court case they are currently involved in. Others were there to hear more regarding a divorce settlement.It is a bit uncomfortable, waiting among people who have lawsuits and divorces, while these young women are being squeezed in in between other cases...

I go into the secretary's room and tell him what we are there for, and he takes my daughters teudat zehut and says to wait. He then comes out and asks for the information from anyone else there for the declaration.

After a short wait, someone comes out of the dayan's room and calls the waiting young women in. The declaration in front of the dayan consisted of him looking at the signed declaration and asking my daughter if that is her signature. She said it is and he said fine, and sent her out. A few minutes later they brought all the cleared documents out. The documents were 2 copies of the army religious exemption - one to be kept by the young woman for her records, and the other to be brought to the army.

Of course with Israel being such a small country, you will find someone you know almost anywhere you go. I saw an old friend who happens now to be a divorce lawyer.

From there we went to the IDF Draft Board in Makor Baruch neighborhood of Jerusalem. I was not allowed in, as only the draftee is allowed in. My daughter went in, and two minutes later was done. She spoke to a clerk, gave her declaration, and that was that.

  --- UPDATE MARCH 23, 2014 ---------------

I received an update from someone that the office is no longer on King George st. but has moved to Givat Shaul.

Reach thousands of readers with your ad by advertising on Life in Israel


  1. Very interesting account, and I agree that it's a bit bizarre the way it's all intermingled.

    they should have had set hours like every Thursday from 10-12.

  2. What a waste of everyone's time. Just do it via postal mail and save everyone from wasting a day running around to various office buildings.

    1. do you have the addresses and details to do it that way?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...