Israel to Send Draft Notices to Ultra-Orthodox Jews to Join Military

Wed Jul 10 2024
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JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday said draft notices would be sent to some ultra-Orthodox Jews who had previously been exempted from serving in the Israeli military in the next few weeks.

Last month Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the defense ministry must end the longtime exemption for ultra-Orthodox Jews from attending mandatory military service.

Gallant speaking in the Israeli parliament said the plan was to send out thousands of draft notices. He made it clear that all served with such notices would not end up serving.

The divided coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu relies on two ultra-Orthodox parties who oppose the termination of the exemption. However, the armed forces say they need more troops to sustain the war in Gaza in which the Israeli forces have killed more than 38,000 innocent Palestinians mostly women and children.

The Israeli Defense Ministry in a statement said at first initial screening and evaluation would be carried out to determine potential recruitments. Under Israeli law, all citizens over 16 years are bound to serve in the military for 24-32 months.

Members of Israel’s 21 percent minority and ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students have been mostly exempted from the training for decades.

Last week thousands of men held a demonstration in the main square in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim condemning the order from Israel’s highest court.

It is pertinent to mention that many Haredi men in Israel spend much of their early lives out of the workforce, instead studying at religious schools funded through government subsidies.

Even some lawmakers in Netanyahu’s coalition have joined the opposition in pushing for the Haredi community to enlist for mandatory military service.

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