Ministerial committee to draft new conscription law
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Ministerial committee to draft new conscription law

Yaakov Peri to head group tasked with raising the number of ultra-Orthodox, Arabs in the IDF and workforce

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Minister of Science, Technology and Space Yaakov Peri (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Minister of Science, Technology and Space Yaakov Peri (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Cabinet on Sunday appointed a ministerial committee tasked with drafting new legislation for the recruitment of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs to the army.

Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, who used to head the Shin Bet security service, was selected to chair the committee in accordance with the coalition agreements, which stipulated that the job go to a member of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

In addition to finding a way to up enlistment to military or national service, the committee will also need to find ways to integrate the ultra-Orthodox and Arab sectors into the workforce. The committee’s proposals were to be presented within seven weeks, the government decided.

“In just under two months we’ll present the Knesset with a bill for an equal sharing of the burden, and until then we’re all in for lots of work,” Peri said after the appointment was announced. The short time frame means both the committee members and relevant ministries needed to be dedicated and work together, he added.

Besides Peri, the committee comprises Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Environmental Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

“It’s not surprising that the ministerial committee meant to debate ‘burden equality,’ has no women on it,” MK Zahava Gal-on (Meretz) said following the decision.

The absence of women was just another sign indicating the idea of redistributing the burden among the public “is used by people who view it as a hollow statement” in order to advance a policy of discrimination and marginalization, Gal-on charged.

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