Amid rising unemployment, Jordan reinstates national military service
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Amid rising unemployment, Jordan reinstates national military service

Joint plan by labor and defense ministries will see men serve 12 months — 3 of military training and 9 of professional and technical training

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border shows Jordanian soldiers raising the national flag ahead of a ceremony at the Jordan Valley site of Naharayim, November 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border shows Jordanian soldiers raising the national flag ahead of a ceremony at the Jordan Valley site of Naharayim, November 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

AMMAN — Jordan on Wednesday announced the reinstatement of compulsory military service for jobless men aged between 25 and 29, amid rising unemployment since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Men will serve a 12-month stint, made up of three months of military training and nine months of professional and technical training, in a joint scheme launched by the labor and defense ministries.

Minister of Labor Nidal al-Batayneh said that 5,000 men would be called up in a first batch this year, with 15,000 in a second round next year.

“We are inaugurating together a national project… military service,” Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said, at a signing ceremony to launch the program.

This January 15, 2017 file photo shows then-newly appointed Jordanian education minister Omar Razzaz, following a meeting at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan. (Khalil Mazraawi, Pool via AP, File)

Jordan abolished compulsory military service in 1991, three years before signing a peace agreement with Israel.

Now any man, aged between 25 and 29, in good health and who is not working or studying, faces the prospect of being required to take part in the program.

They will be paid a monthly salary of 100 dinars ($140).

“Our youth and our human resources are our most precious assets,” Razzaz added. “We will not stand idly by in the face of rising unemployment rates, a global phenomenon in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”

FILE — Jordanian military units parade in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt in Amman, Jordan on June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

Jordan, a country of some 10 million people, has been hit hard by restrictions imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Unemployment rates rose to 23 percent in the first quarter of 2020, according to official figures, up from 19 percent for the same period last year.

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