Israel's high court begins hearing on Ultra-Orthodox Haredi conscription

Israel's high court begins hearing on Ultra-Orthodox Haredi conscription
Israel's Attorney General said that the Israeli army was ready to conscript 3,000 Haredi Jews into military service.
2 min read
02 June, 2024
Israel's Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jewish community had previously protested against conscription in April [Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]

A panel of justices on Israel's high court began hearing petitions in favour of drafting Ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews into the military.

The nine-justice panel, led by Interim Chief Justice Uzi Fogelman, heard from Israeli government's private council, which is arguing against the intervention of the court to enforce the draft.

Representing the government Doron Taubman told the court that the court should not intervene in deciding when and how to enlist Haredi Jews into the military.

He also argued that the court could not bar the government from funding Haredi Yeshivot (schools) because Haredi Jews had not been summoned and had not violated draft orders.

Israel's Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara argues that the government is acting illegally in not drafting Haredi Jews and was attempting to the stop attorney general's position from being binding on the military.

Bahrav-Miara also wrote to the court on Thursday that as well as "violating express rules of the court", the military was prepared to draft 3,000 Haredi men into the military immediately until the end of 2024.

Under Israeli law, Haredi Jews were able to postpone their military service annually until a final exemption at the age of 26 if they had been studying fulltime in a yeshiva. The government also stipends many students, providing a loophole for Haredi Jews to avoid service.

However, the law that permitted such a loophole – in 1998 the Israeli supreme court ruled that exempting entire groups from service was discriminatory – expired on 1 July 2023, with the governments time deadline of 1 April 2024 to come up with a new law also expiring.

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