Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
IDF soldiers from an ultra-Orthodox section of the Givati Infantry Brigade pray during a training exercise near Beit Shemesh, Sept. 27, 2017.

(JNS) Days before a High Court deadline on submitting a bill for ultra-Orthodox Israelis to be drafted to the IDF, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has released the text.

Not changing anything, Netanyahu submitted the bill passed in a first reading by the previous Knesset and drafted by War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz.


“​​To bridge the differences and bring about a broad consensus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to advance the conscription bill that passed the first reading in the previous Knesset (Amendment 26 to the Defense Service Law),” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The bill was prepared by the defense establishment after thorough staff work and submitted by the then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz. … The prime minister calls on all factions that supported the proposal in the previous Knesset to join the proposal.”

The draft bill calls on setting targets for ultra-Orthodox conscription, capping at 35% of male students by 2036. Additionally, it allows for a roughly 85%-15% split between IDF service and National Service for the ultra-Orthodox.

If the targets are not met, large fines will be placed on the yeshivahs that do not send their students.

The ultra-Orthodox parties have yet to chime in on the announcement, though the premier had consulted with them.

When the bill passed its first reading in the Knesset, United Torah Judaism Knesset member Moshe Gafni called it “a despicable and disgraceful proposal” and Shas chairman and Netanyahu confidante Aryeh Deri called it an “offensive law whose sole purpose is to harm the members of the yeshivah and to exclude the youth from their studies.”

Commenting on the announcement by Netanyahu, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said the circumstances have changed due to the war, therefore requiring “a mandatory conscription law for everyone. Every young man and woman aged 18—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze or Circassian—must report for military or civil service.”


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