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March 12, 2014 9:00 am

Charedi Conscription Becomes Law in Israel

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The Israeli Knesset. Photo: Wiki Commons. – The Equal Sharing of the Burden Bill, which applies the mandatory national service requirement on charedim in Israel, was passed with an overwhelming majority in the Knesset on Wednesday, some two years after the High Court of Justice said the de facto waiver for charedi men was unconstitutional.

Sixty-five Members of Knesset voted in favor of the bill, with one opposed. The Israeli opposition parties, including several charedi parties, boycotted the vote because they believed the government had abused Knesset procedure to ensure its passage, Israel Hayom reported.

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Under the newly passed law, a rising number of charedim would have to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces or carry out national service starting in 2017. If the conscription numbers are not met, the state would impose financial penalties on the charedi community.

According to the law, yeshivas will be able to decide which of their students would have to go to the military, and face sanctions if they do not meet the draft quotas. The bill also gives the defense minister a mandate to defer enrollment until the age of 21, or in some cases 26, and to grant exemptions.

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