Brain Bush’s Blog

Israel's Draft Law

  • By : Brian Bush
  • May 31, 2013
  • 8:58 am

Hi Everybody,

Earlier in the week on the Harvest Show the issue surrounding reform to Israel's draft law was spoken of.

Lets dive a little deeper into some of the challenges facing the forces and society over issue.

First of all, since Israel's inception in 1948, it's military has allowed young men who study the Torah (the Old Testament) an exemption from serving in the armed forces. The idea behind this is that these men preserve the Jewish identity.

A major issue in last January's elections was that the Israeli society wants to 'share the burden' of service to the state – meaning the ever growing large populace of Haredim (ultra-orthodox Jews) who study the Torah need to do their part in serving the country in which they are a part.

This has gained attention in recent years partly because of

Newly elected politicians are pushing an outline for change, after months of wrangling, which if it does pass the Knesset will be quite an accomplishment. That achievement is still a long way off and has a lot of bureaucratic hurdles to clear.

Part of the debate right now that has slowed the proposal's advancement is what kind of penalty will be given should an ultra-orthodox young man not enter the service. For everyone else here it is a criminal offense, but there are those who are seeking lesser sanctions be placed.

Critics of the committee recommendations are saying that such repercussions are too soft and won't help young people from the religious community to 'fall in line'.

What is clear is that this effort to pass a law that will effect the armed services in Israel will be an achievement unparalleled since the founding of the state.

And people on both sides of the argument are digging in on the political battlefield.

But the other angle to take in this is that if the law is passed and put into place, the study of the Torah will not go away as some are threatening, and the Israel Defense Force will not become an army of ultra-orthodox.

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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