In landmark ruling, Israel's top court says ultra-orthodox Jews must be subject to draft

In landmark ruling, Israel's top court says ultra-orthodox Jews must be subject to draft

Court says there is no legal framework for government to exempt Haredi Yeshiva students from military service

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) – In a ruling that could shake Israel’s political landscape, the nation’s Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously ruled that ultra-Orthodox Jews must be subject to the military draft.

All nine judges of the court ruled that there is no legal framework for the government to exempt Haredi Yeshiva students from military service, said Israeli public broadcaster Kan.

The court also ruled that the government can no longer provide financial support for Yeshiva student schools who lack an exemption from military service.

Since 2017, successive Israeli governments have failed to reach a consensus on Haredi conscription after the Supreme Court overturned a 2015 law exempting them from military service, citing it as violating the “principle of equality.”

According to the Times of Israel news website, there are an estimated 67,000 Haredi males eligible for military service.

While religious parties – key allies of embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – oppose the conscription of Haredi, secular and nationalist parties support it and demand that religious students share the “burden of war,” posing a significant challenge to Netanyahu's coalition.

Haredi Jews, who make up about 13% of Israel's population of approximately 9.7 million, do not serve in the military, citing a commitment to study the Torah, Judaism's holy book.

Netanyahu is under considerable political pressure due to public discontent over Israel’s eight-month offensive in Gaza as well as his political scandals.


*Writing by Ahmed Asmar



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