Israel’s top court rules ultra-Orthodox Jews must be drafted into military, in blow to Netanyahu

Israel’s top court rules ultra-Orthodox Jews must be drafted into military, in blow to Netanyahu

CNN reports:

Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the government to draft ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military, delivering a blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has the potential to unravel his ruling coalition.

The court also ordered the government to withdraw funding from any religious schools, or yeshivas, whose students do not comply with draft notices.

“The government wanted to distinguish at the level of law enforcement between individuals based on their group affiliation,” the court said in its ruling. “It was determined that by doing so, the government seriously harmed the rule of law and the principle according to which all individuals are equal before the law.”

Ultra-Orthodox (or Haredi) Jews have, for all intents and purposes, been exempt from national mandatory military service since Israel’s founding (Palestinian citizens of Israel are also exempt.) Ultra-Orthodox men spend much of their early lives out of the workforce, entirely devoted to religious study. They view yeshivas as fundamental to the preservation of Judaism, as important to Israel’s defense as the military.

Most Israelis believe ultra-Orthodox men should serve in the military, according to recent polls, but Haredi parties have been staunchly opposed to efforts to rescind the draft exemption. Netanyahu’s fragile government coalition relies on two Haredi parties – United Torah Judaism and Shas – to govern. He has for weeks been trying to advance legislation through Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, that would enshrine in law a draft exemption for Haredi men. [Continue reading…]

The Times of Israel reports:

The Attorney General’s Office instructs the IDF to immediately draft 3,000 ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students beginning July 1, following the High Court of Justice’s ruling earlier Tuesday that the state is obligated to conscript such men into military service.

“The security establishment is obligated to act immediately to implement the ruling to draft yeshiva students who are obligated to perform military service,” Deputy Attorney General Gil Limon tells the army in a letter to its legal adviser.

There are currently some 63,000 Haredi yeshiva students who following today’s ruling are now obligated to perform military service, although the IDF told the court that it could realistically draft just 3,000 in the 2024 enlistment year which began in June. [Continue reading…]

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