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July 7, 2013 11:29 am

Israeli Cabinet Approves Haredi Draft Bill

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Religious Jews in Israel. Photo: Effi B.

The Israeli Cabinet Sunday passed the haredi draft bill that will make it mandatory for all 21-year-old haredim to be drafted to the IDF, beginning in 2017, excluding 1,800 who have proven themselves to be scholarly-gifted and will be granted an exemption.

Fourteen ministers voted in favor of the outline, while only four opposed it.

“We will enact this change gradually while considering the special needs of the ultra-orthodox population,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said during the Cabinet meeting.

“Our objective is two-fold: Integrating young ultra-orthodox into IDF and national service and, no less important, integrating them into the labor force,” he added.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who made the issue the centerpiece of his party’s election campaign, told reporters before the meeting that Sunday was an “historic day.”

“After 65 years we are finally correcting this aberration, for the benefit of haredi society, and for the benefit of Israeli society as a whole,” he said.

Lapid pointed out the magnitude of the achievement, noting it had brought down previous governments and ended political careers. “Three and a half months since the establishment of this government we are passing a historic change, this is something big for all of us,” he said.

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