Israeli PM Proposes Bill to Enlist Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Sparks Debate
Israeli PM Proposes Bill to Enlist Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Sparks Debate

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to introduce a contentious bill aiming to enlist ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military to a ministerial committee. The move is intended to address societal and political divides in the country.

The proposed legislation has sparked protests within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, coming at a time of ongoing conflicts that have resulted in significant Israeli casualties. The debate over exemptions for ultra-Orthodox and Arab minorities from military service has long been a point of contention, with critics arguing that it places strain on welfare resources and hampers economic efficiency.

Netanyahu's decision to bring the bill before the committee underscores his commitment to addressing this issue. His office stated on Wednesday that he is urging all parties who supported the bill in the previous parliament to do so again.

The timing of the proposal is particularly sensitive given the current conflict in Gaza and other regions, which has seen a high number of Israeli casualties, primarily among secular teenage conscripts and reservists.

The Prime Minister's coalition includes two ultra-Orthodox parties, which view the exemptions as essential for preserving their constituents' adherence to religious studies and avoiding integration into the broader military culture, which may conflict with their conservative values.

The debate over military service exemptions has led to demonstrations by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who make up 13% of Israel's population, a figure expected to rise to 19% by 2035. Their reluctance to serve in the military, despite generally supporting national defense efforts, has long been a divisive issue in Israeli society.

Economists argue that the exemption policy results in a portion of the ultra-Orthodox community remaining out of the workforce unnecessarily, placing a greater welfare burden on the predominantly secular, middle-class taxpayers.

In addition to the ultra-Orthodox, Israel's Arab minority, comprising 21% of the population, is largely exempt from military conscription. Typically, men and women are called up for service at the ages of 18, with men serving 32 months and women 24 months.

Tensions Escalate as Israel Clashes with Hamas-led Militants in Gaza

Israeli Tanks Advance Deeper into Gaza's Rafah as Civilians Flee Again

Stalemate in Gaza Ceasefire Talks Amid Israeli Operations: Qatar Prime Minister

Escalation in Gaza: Israel Targets Rafah Amidst Biden's Caution

Join NewsTrack Whatsapp group
Related News