Committee okays fast-tracking bill raising age of exemption for IDF reservists

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

The Knesset House Committee approves a government request to fast-track a bill delaying retirement for IDF reservists.

The proposal, a Defense Ministry-backed “draft Security Service Law,” seeks to extend a temporary measure raising the exemption age for reserve military service from 40 to 41 for soldiers and from 45 to 46 for officers for several additional months due to a manpower shortage amid the ongoing war in Gaza. Specialists such as doctors and air crewmen will be required to continue serving until 50, instead of 49.

The current increase in the exemption age, which was initially passed as a temporary measure by the Knesset late last year, is set to expire at the end of the month and the committee’s approval of the government’s request clears the way for the bill’s first reading in the plenum to take place today — with the remaining two readings taking place this week.

Knesset legal adviser Sagit Afik criticizes the government for requesting to fast-track the legislation “at the last minute, leaving two days of work for the Knesset and the committee.”

“This is an insult to the Knesset and its status and ability to work, especially after the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee did not agree to grant a one-year extension in the past,” she says.

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