Home Asia Israeli Parliament Votes On Conscription Law For Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Israeli Parliament Votes On Conscription Law For Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Israel has taken one step ahead on conscription of ultra-Orthodox students in the military. Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana made the announcement after the vote. “62 for and 10 against, 0 abstentions – I state that the proposal for the Civilian National service bill, Amendment No. 4, has been accepted and will return to the security committee for its preparation for a second and third reading.”

The issue of compulsory military training for ultra-Orthodox Jews has long been a contentious one. The bill has to cross a few more hurdles before it can be implemented. So far, ultra-orthodox Jews have been exempted from military service but the issue has gotten more sensitive since the Gaza war where more than 600 Israeli soldiers have been killed.

The same day, relatives of some of the hostages who are still being held in Gaza, wanted Israel to do more to secure their release. Things got heated in this discussion with the Finance Minister at the Finance Committee meeting with some families calling him ‘cynical’.

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Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is not in favour of a ceasefire deal that involved bringing back the hostages in an exchange for Palestinian prisoners. While trying to intervene, Smotrich said to the relatives, “It’s possible to shut down an opinion that we do not like, but it does not make it disappear, nor does it dispense of the need to deal with it. We released Sinwar in the Shalit deal, and until today we buried 1500 Jews because we released one man in the Shalit deal.”

The deal Smotrich is talking about refers to the abduction of corporal Gilad Shalit, who was taken to Gaza at gunpoint in 2006. He was released in 2011 only after Israel agreed to exchange over 1000 prisoners, including some who had been given life sentences. Among these was Yahya Sinwar, a high-ranking Hamas leader believed to be the mastermind behind the October 7 attacks.