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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
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Knesset Panel Snubs IDF’s Objection to National Service for Chabad

Lubavitch emissaries erecting a menorah (illustration image).

Lubavitch emissaries erecting a menorah (illustration image).

Chabad emissaries serving overseas will be able to fulfill their military draft obligation the IDF through national service (Sherut Leumi) if the Knesset passes a bill approved Tuesday by a Knesset special committee for the Equal Sharing of the Burden.

Chabad emissaries would share the same status as those who do national service as part of the Magen David Adom medical teams and those who identify victims of disasters

The IDF objected to the proposal, which was passed by the committee in 5-3 vote. Labor, Yesh Atid and Jewish Home Knesset Members voted against it, while committee members of Likud-Beitenu , Tzipi Livni’s NaTnuah party, Shas and United Torah Judaism supported it.

One key member in favor was MK Elazar Stern former head of the IDF Manpower Unit.

Stern said, “The Chabad movement sends 250 to 300 emissaries to all corners of the world at any given moment. There are various components in their activities that strikingly parallel the character of national civilian service. They do important work in Jewish communities around the world and we must recognize them [for it].

“I want the emissaries to know on a daily basis that they are emissaries of the state. One of our greatest accomplishments in doing so would be succeeding in connecting Chabad Hassidim to the country, and showing that the emissaries, whose rebbe called on them not to move to Israel in the past, are emissaries of Israel abroad.”

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