Barak orders haredi Orthodox conscription


Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the Israeli Defense Forces to draft haredi Orthodox men as it does other Jewish Israelis.

Barak has allowed a month for officials to formulate regulations on haredi conscription, according to reports.

The order came as the Tal Law, which allowed haredi men to defer army service, expired on Wednesday. Israel’s Supreme Court overturned the law in February.

Israeli law mandates that Jewish Israelis enter the army at age 18. Some Israelis legally defer army service for a year or more to study and prepare for the army. Israeli Arabs are not required to serve in the army.

Since the Tal Law was overturned, the debate over Israel’s mandatory conscription has been at the center of the country’s political discourse. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu established a unity government in May with the centrist Kadima, the Knesset’s largest party, to draft new legislation on mandatory service that would address haredi and Arab youth, but Kadima and its leader Shaul Mofaz quit the coalition in July after failing to reach an agreement with Netanyahu.

Extremist haredi Orthodox protest universal conscription


Thousands of members of a haredi Orthodox sect protested in Jerusalem against a planned universal military service law.

The members of the extremist Eda Haredit sect, which does not recognize secular law, protested Monday evening.

The protest reportedly began with prayer and continued with young children marching chained to each other carrying signs that said “Save me.”

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said earlier Monday that he would extend the Knesset’s current session, and not send lawmakers on summer break, until a conscription law that includes the haredi Orthodox is drafted.

In February, the Israeli Supreme Court declared that the Tal Law, which allowed haredi Orthodox men to defer service indefinitely, to be unconstitutional, and set Aug. 1 as the deadline for a new law to be passed.