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Israeli court pushes to raise quota of ultra-Orthodox soldiers enlisted in IDF

Ultra Orthodox Jewish men protest against members of the liberal Jewish religious group Women of the Wall at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
Gali Tibbon (AFP/File)
Court orders to raise quota, requiring more ultra-Orthodox to enlist

The Israeli high court struck down a law on Tuesday which regulates exemption from military service for ultra-Orthodox recruits.

The high court ruled to remove the amendments put in place, which lowered the annual quota of ultra-Orthodox soldiers enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces.

The  original amendment to Israel’s Conscription Law, which established an annual quota for ultra-Orthodox soldiers to enlist in the IDF, was pushed forward by Yesh Atid Party Leader Yair Lapid in an attempt to raise the number of recruits.

The original amendment stipulated that ultra-Orthodox recruits could defer service as long at the community as a whole met an annual quota. Netanyahu’s new coalition, formed in 2015, reduced the quota included by the original amendment.  

Israel’s high court on Tuesday ordered to reverse the decision, requiring the government to raise the quota within a year.

Israeli judges said the new quota “harmed equality”

Israel's burgeoning ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority is mostly exempt from service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) because many disagree ideologically with the mostly-secular institution. The first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, exempted religious Jews from serving in order to gain their political support.

Ultra-Orthodox, called Haredim in Hebrew (for 'to tremble' before God), instead receive deferments to study Torah in seminaries.

As the Israeli government seeks to draft more Haredi males in the name of civic duty and obligation, tensions are roiling in the ultra-Orthodox community. Some self-identified extremists are beginning to intensify verbal incitement against the enlisted soldiers.



Too many extremists may be dangerous.

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