Monday, June 16, 2014

Conscription law controversy continues in Israel

The Supreme Court of Israel sitting as the High Court of Justice has given the government until September to explain why the conscription reform statute the Knesset enacted in March should not be invalidated. At issue is whether adult yeshiva students may lawfully be exempted from conscription, given the right to equality. The issue has cast a long shadow over Israeli politics, as explained in this article from Ha'aretz and is likely to be a flashpoint as the deadline set by the court approaches. Israeli institutions have tried everything to finesse the question of draft exemption for ultra-Orthodox haredim, but none seems to have worked, and it now looks like the authorities are "back to square 1." A 9-justice expanded panel will hear the matter, which is raised by three petitions. The law passed in March "among other things will gradually raise military service quotas for ultra-Orthodox men and reduce mandatory service for men from 36 months to 32 months."

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