Israeli approves religious students' conscription bill

March 12, 2014 at 1:29 PM
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JERUSALEM, March 12 (UPI) -- The Israeli legislature approved a plan Tuesday to conscript previously exempt haredi, Israeli men studying in seminaries, into the military forces.

"This is an important, historic bill," said Knesset member Ayelet Shaked, who led the committee which designed the legislation. "For 65 years there was an exemption for all yeshiva students, and the change the coalition (in the Knesset) made is proportional and gradual and correct."

The law was passed by a 67-1 vote in the 120-seat legislature, with a boycott by opposition parties, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Shaked added she "believes in the haredi public and that it will reach the (enlistment) goals the government set. If there will be cooperation from haredi leadership, there will not be mandatory enlistment."

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, said in a Twitter comment after the vote, "Now we must roll up our sleeves and connect our haredi brothers to the economy and Israeli service. The time has come for unity."

Immediately after the law was passed, it was challenged by the Movement for Quality Government in a petition to Israel's High Court, which can overrule it, the newspaper said.

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