Eight out of nine of the justices on the panel of judges on the High Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that the Conscription Law, passed two years ago by the Knesset, is disproportionate and unconstitutional.
In its decision the Court said the “new army service arrangement harms equality” and should be stricken from the books.
The amendment to the Conscription Law ratified by the Knesset two years ago grants a certain number of exemptions from mandatory military service for hareidi-religious boys in full-time rabbinic study. It also lowered the annual quota of those required to be drafted.
Tuesday’s ruling strikes the amendment as unconstitutional, returning the quota to its previous level.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor concluded in her decision, “We are compelled to return the matter back to the Knesset… At this stage and after years of trial and error, it is clear that it is no longer enough to make do with non-binding and non-enforceable arrangements whose outcome is unknown.”
Interior Minister and Sephardic religious Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri responded to the ruling, saying students in yeshivot would “continue their studies even after this ruling and thereby defend the people of Israel. We’ll do everything in our power to amend the law in a manner enabling the continuation of the current arrangement.”