June 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

Knesset Advances Contested Conscription Law

June 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

Knesset Advances Contested Conscription Law

Latest Developments

Israel’s parliament approved moving ahead on a contested conscription law on June 11. In a vote of 63 lawmakers in favor and 57 opposed, the Knesset plenum approved applying continuity to a 2022 bill that would incrementally increase the conscription quota for ultra-Orthodox Jews, a growing sector of Israeli society traditionally exempted from military service on religious grounds.

Among those opposed was the opposition’s Benny Gantz, a former defense minister who sponsored the original bill but who, in the wake of the Gaza war, has deemed the legislation insufficient for the IDF’s personnel needs. Also opposed was the current defense minister, Yoav Gallant, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Now approved, the bill will be subject to review by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee before returning to the plenum for ratification.

Expert Analysis

“Netanyahu adopted this bill in part because he was under pressure by Israel’s Supreme Court to make progress in an overhaul of a conscription arrangement that many in the country long deemed unfair for unequally distributing the burden of national defense. It is to be hoped that, with the ball finally rolling, real, sincere and lasting change will be effected.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Israel is on an unsustainable trajectory, whereby its fastest growing demographic refuses to shoulder society’s burdens — including army service. A quickly vanishing opportunity exists now to correct course and set Haredi Israelis on a path of integration that is necessary for their community and vital for Israel’s. It mustn’t be squandered over partisan politics or personal interests, especially since it reflects the views of the majority of Israelis — right, center, and left.” — David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow

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