World News

Israel’s Supreme Court Decides Military Draft Mandatory for Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Men

The highest court in Israel has ruled to strike down religious exemptions to conscription laws on June 25. The decision mandates highly observant religious Jewish men to be included in the country’s compulsory military requirements and must begin recruiting more of these men for service by the Israel Defense Forces.

The unanimous ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court sided with petitioners known as the Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG), challenging the legality of exemptions protecting Orthodox Jewish scholars from military service. Historically, conscription laws have excluded citizens following more Orthodox Jewish religious strictures, such as Haredi, while applying broadly to more secular Jewish citizens.

The Supreme Court’s decision addressed the ongoing inequality in the enforcement of military service requirements for religiously observant Jews, emphasizing the potential undermining of the Israeli government during times of prolonged war. This decision also impacts government funding for higher education institutions focusing on religious studies, ruling that religious schools cannot receive funding for students without valid exemptions from military service obligations.

MQG celebrated the decision, highlighting the importance of equality in military service obligations for all citizens. The ruling may have political ramifications, potentially affecting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, which includes observant Orthodox Jewish religious elements.

Yitzhak Goldknopf, a member of the Haredi Orthodox political party United Torah Judaism, expressed disappointment in the decision, emphasizing the importance of the Torah in the State of Israel’s existence. The ruling brings an end to years of inequality and discrimination in military service obligations.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)

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