Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacts with joy to the reviving of Gantz’s law against Gantz’s wishes, June 11, 2024.

The only serious part about Monday night’s Knesset vote to apply the continuity rule to the Haredi conscription law promoted by Defense Minister Benny Gantz in the previous government was the fact that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant voted against it. The silliest part was that Gantz also voted against it.

The coalition won the vote by 63 to 57.


In August 2022, the Lapid-Bennett government approved the service outline for Haredi conscripts that was proposed by Gantz and included lowering the conscription exemption age for Haredim to 21, but for only two years. According to the outline, a 21-year-old Haredi youth will be able to join the national emergency and rescue system and receive vocational training. The idea was to allow the Haredim to join the job market sooner while increasing the number of Haredi recruits. According to the outline, the exemption age will rise after two years to 22, and after another year to 23. The Knesset passed the first reading of this version of the recruitment bill in January 2023, but following the fall of the Lapid-Bennett government, it did not get a chance to pass the second and third readings.

Pressed by the Supreme Court to present a conscription law to replace all the other proposed versions the court had been killing since 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu figured out a clever way to appease everyone, including the court, his Haredi coalition partners, and Benny Gantz, who was serving as a minister without portfolio in Netanyahu’s unity government: he submitted the former defense minister’s bill as is, not one word altered.

It was so clever that Gantz had to find a way not to be in Netanyahu’s government by the time his bill was submitted for a vote that resurrected it via the continuity rule. Because, you know, if Netanyahu manages to fill this hole in his leaky boat of government, he might come up on top and win the next elections once Hamas is defeated in Gaza.


Gantz’s first response was to put together a reason why his own bill was bad. Now, when I say Gantz, I mean the vast team of campaign advisers and writers, paid for by Netanyahu’s wealthy enemies in the US and Israel, the same folks who gave you almost a year of violent demonstrations against Netanyahu’s “judicial coup,” and “tyranny.” So, they came up with this:

“The State of Israel needs soldiers and not political exercises that tear the people apart in times of war,” Gantz responded. “The Israeli service outline that was agreed upon by the previous government was prepared by the security establishment as a bridging law and as a basis for developing an Israeli service outline, to bring about service by all the sections of the nation. The temporary bridging law that was submitted and which the Prime Minister wishes to pass now – was not satisfactory then, and is not relevant today in the reality after October 7.”

Gobbledygook? You bet. To translate, Gantz said his law was bad and had been submitted only as a temporary stopgap until something better was thought up. Of course, when he submitted it, Gantz suggested none of that. This was the solution to the problem of too many Haredi youths who stay out of the army and as a result, are driven out of the legitimate job market.

Now, why is that same law no longer relevant in Israel’s post-October 7 reality? The IDF is indeed saying it needs in the neighborhood of additional 10,000 recruits annually. But no one in the IDF is prepared to tap the Haredi sector for those recruits (see: Revealed: Since October 7 the IDF Rejected 3,120 out of 4,000 Haredim Asking to Enlist). It would likely prefer the estimated 50% of secular kids who find ways to evade serving.

Also, the bill includes encouraging Haredim who don’t wish to serve in the army to do national service with Zaka or United Hatzalah – two groups that, unfortunately, have been highly relevant during and after October 7.


The coalition won the vote by 63 to 57 because Defense Minister Yoav Gallant voted with the opposition. Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Tzachi Braverman, said on the sidelines of the plenary after Gallant’s vote: “Chutzpan (insolent), he should be fired.”

Gallant, who, much like Gantz, is not the brightest light in Israel’s watchtower, said Monday night: “It’s forbidden to do petty politics on the backs of IDF soldiers.”

True. But Gallant, not a man of many words, did not explain why extending the parliamentary debate of a bill that was proposed by the current opposition constitutes petty politics, and on the backs of IDF soldiers to boot.

If I were Netanyahu, I’d send Gallant home and replace him with Brigadier General Ofer Winter who has just been sent home by Gallant and IDF chief Herzi Halevi. This move would be such sweet revenge because Winter was sacked with the rank of Brigadier General, which means he does not require the cooling-off period imposed on full-blown Generals before they pursue political office.

But I am not Netanyahu, so, you know, Gallant stays.

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