World, Middle East

Israel pushes to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews

Israeli defense minister not to extend military exemption for certain groups in Israel

Abdelraouf Arna'out   | 28.01.2021
Israel pushes to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews

JERUSALEM

Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Wednesday that he is seeking to include all Israeli citizens in the national military service with no exemption to ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs. 

According to local daily Times of Israel, Gantz "threatened to move to conscript all ultra-Orthodox Israelis, who currently are largely exempt from military service, beginning next month."

Gantz said that he has presented a new plan which addresses the country's overall conscription policy, adding that he would oppose renewing the military service exemption for certain Israeli groups.

The Israeli ultra-Orthodox were exempted from the national service for decades based on their religious beliefs.

The news website quoted Gantz as saying that "ultimately all Israelis will be required to perform some form of national service after high school," including the Arabs.

The national service in Israel is mandatory for all adult men and women for a period of 24 months.

However, the position for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unclear on the matter which could put him in confrontation with the religious Israeli groups.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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