Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Israeli conscription case heard by High Court of Justice

High Court of Justice
On Tuesday the Israeli Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice heard argument in a public interest litigation challenging recent legislation that gradually increases the number of ultra-Orthodox (haredi) conscripts in the Israel Defence Forces. From The Jerusalem Post's report:
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel has attacked the law on multiple grounds, including its lack of requiring universal service, its permitting many haredim who serve to defer their service from age 18 to 21 and its incremental approach of increasing haredi participation over the next three years.
It says that non-haredim must serve when called up above the age of 18 with no categorical exceptions or delays either related to age or related achieving incremental progress.
The NGO said that the nine justice panel presided over by Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis agreed with its premise that the law was unequal, and spent much of the hearing questioning the state as to the scope of the inequality.
The justices’ questions seemed to suggest that the state was reserving for itself too much discretion in how long to try to achieve quotas and regarding what sanctions would apply if quotas were not met as well as when those sanctions would kick in.
Owing to resistance in the haredi community, the number of haredi draftees has actually declined:
In July this year the Knesset oversight committee for the implementation of the law heard from IDF officials that between July and December 2013 inclusively, 1,235 ultra-Orthodox men were drafted. But from January to June 2014 inclusive, just 737 were drafted, a decline of 40% over the previous six-month period.

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