Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Israel to send draft notices to ultra-orthodox Jews soon


Israel Ends Military Exemption for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

In a significant move, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that draft notices would soon be delivered to ultra-Orthodox Jews who were previously exempt from serving in the Israeli military. This decision comes after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled last month that the defense ministry must put an end to the longstanding exemption for this group.

The exemption for ultra-Orthodox Jews from mandatory military service has been a contentious issue in Israel for years. While some argue that it is essential to respect the religious beliefs of this community, others believe that all citizens should share the burden of defending the country.

Gallant revealed that thousands of draft notices would be sent out in the coming weeks, although not all recipients would ultimately end up serving in the military. The move is part of an effort to increase the number of recruits in the armed forces, which is crucial for maintaining Israel’s security and continuing the fight against groups like Hamas in Gaza.

The decision to end the exemption has faced opposition from within the government itself. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government relies on the support of two ultra-Orthodox parties who are against the change. However, the military’s need for more personnel has outweighed these political considerations.

The issue of military service for ultra-Orthodox Jews has long been a point of contention in Israeli society. While some members of this community have chosen to serve in the military, many have been able to avoid conscription through various exemptions and deferments. This has led to resentment among other Israelis who feel that everyone should be required to serve their country.

The Supreme Court’s ruling to end the exemption was seen as a victory for those advocating for a more equal distribution of military service obligations. It was also a recognition of the changing demographics in Israel, where the ultra-Orthodox population is growing rapidly and becoming an increasingly significant part of society.

While the decision to end the exemption is a step towards greater equality in military service, it is likely to face resistance from some within the ultra-Orthodox community. For many, serving in the military goes against their religious beliefs and traditions. Finding a balance between respecting these beliefs and ensuring national security will be a challenge for Israeli policymakers.

As draft notices are sent out in the coming weeks, it remains to be seen how this change will be implemented and what impact it will have on Israel’s military and society as a whole. The debate over military service for ultra-Orthodox Jews is far from over, but this decision marks a significant shift in Israeli policy towards a more inclusive and equitable system of conscription.

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