After the High Court of Justice on Tuesday had thrown out the amended draft law passed by the Knesset two years ago, on the grounds that it does not fulfill its purpose of creating equality [between Haredi and non-Haredi Israelis] in IDF enlistment, Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir plans to petition the same High Court of Justice demanding that the Defense Ministry be compelled to recruit Israeli Arabs in the name of equality.
In order to exhaust the proceedings and appeal to all the relevant parties prior to filing his petition, Ben-Gvir sent a letter to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit stating, “It is not clear why there is discrimination and violation of equality in the fact that tens of thousands of citizens are not summoned to the draft office solely because they are Arab.”
Ben-Gvir wrote that “according to the majority opinion accepted by eight justices, the amendments to the [draft] law are unconstitutional, and the Honorable Justice [Yitzchak] Amit expressed it well when he said that the subject here is ‘the mother of all the discriminations,’ since [the existing law] is liable (thank God, not in every case) to come down to distinguish between ‘bloodshed and bloodshed,’ as simple as that.”
He argued that the fact that the Arabs’ exemption from the draft is not anchored in the law deepens the discrimination that has been created by the legislator. “This is reinforced by the fact that the legislature itself did not stipulate that Arabs should be exempted from serving in the IDF or serving in the civil service,” Ben-Gvir wrote the AG, charging that ” if such a determination were made, it is clear that it would not have passed the test of the Supreme Court.”
Essentially, Ben-Gvir is forcing the court to live up to its own principles and compel the Knesset to apply the same tough standards it does to young Haredim in the case of young Israeli Arabs as well. Should the court follow what seems to be the only logical conclusion of its own flame-fanning ruling regarding Haredim, the Knesset and the Netanyahu government could witness unintended consequences, such as ad hoc cooperation between the Haredi parties and the Joint Arab List. (Currently they form a 26-seat block.).