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The Knesset votes on a bill exempting the Haredim from conscription

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The Israeli Knesset will vote on Monday on the controversial bill that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to pass.

Last May, the government approved the draft conscription law on first reading, but it was not finally approved.

The bill was proposed two years ago by National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz when he was defense minister, but Netanyahu criticized Netanyahu’s revival of the bill as a political maneuver.

The draft law reduces the age of exemption from compulsory service for the Haredim from 26 years to 21 years for a period of two years, then the age of exemption increases to 22, and after a year to 23, to allow the “Haredim” to integrate into the labor market, as well as to increase the number of recruits among them.

According to the Haaretz newspaper, it is expected that the majority of lawmakers from the Likud Party, which Netanyahu leads, will vote in favor of the legislation, noting that the vote is expected to reach the full session after midnight.

It is also expected – according to Israeli media – that Defense Minister Yoav Galant will vote against the draft law, a move that could mean his resignation from the government. Gallant had previously expressed his opposition to the law in its current form, and announced that he would not support it without an agreement between the leaders of the government.

Orthodox Jews of military age have been able to avoid conscription into the Israeli army for decades by enrolling in yeshivas to study the Torah and receiving repeated one-year deferrals of service until they reach the age of military exemption.

Since 2017, successive governments have failed to reach a consensus law regarding Haredi recruitment, after the Supreme Court annulled a law enacted in 2015 that exempted them from military service, considering that the exemption violates the “principle of equality.”

Since then, the Knesset has continued to extend their exemption from military service, and at the end of last March, an order issued by the Netanyahu government to postpone the implementation of compulsory conscription for “Haredim” expired.

The law obliges every Israeli man and woman over the age of 18 to military service, and the exclusion of “Haredim” from service has always sparked controversy over the past decades, but their failure to serve in military service in conjunction with the ongoing war on Gaza and the losses of the Israeli army has increased the intensity of the controversy, as secular parties demand that religious people participate in bearing the burden. Burdens of war.

Source : Al Jazeera + Israeli press + Websites