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Israel passes bill exempting ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service

Israeli police intervene against ultra-orthodox Jews, Tel Aviv, Feb 3, 2020, Anadolu Agency
By Anadolu Agency
June 11, 2024

The Israeli parliament passed a bill with a majority vote that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews (Haredim) from conscription.

According to the Israeli army radio, the conscription bill, which exempts Haredim from military service, was approved with 63 out of 120 deputies voting in favor in parliament, despite the opposition of Defense Minister Yoav Galant.

The newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the draft law passed with 63 MPs voting in favor, while 57 MPs voting against the bill.

For the bill to enter into force, it will be discussed in the parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee for approval in the second and third readings.

Haredim, most of whom refuse to serve in the military for religious reasons, constitute about 12% of the country’s population of 9 million.

The vast majority of Haredi Jews in the country live in the Mea Shearim neighborhood in West Jerusalem and in the city of Bnei Brak near the capital Tel Aviv.

The coalition alliance of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who emerged victorious from the Nov. 1, 2022 elections in Israel, includes the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, in addition to far-right parties.

Many Haredi Jews, who disagree with secular Jews on many issues and refuse to integrate into the rest of society, refuse to serve in the army because they believe they cannot live as their religion requires.

Israel has three years of compulsory military service for men and women. Haredim, on the other hand, are exempt from military service if they study in Torah Courses (Yeshiva) until the age of 26.

Haredi parties, which are coalition partners in Israel, want to pass a law stating that “Torah education is a fundamental right” to legally guarantee the exemption of the group they represent from military service.

By Anadolu Agency Last Updated:  Jun 11, 2024 3:16 PM