Gallant to vote against contentious Haredi IDF draft exemption bill – reports

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant delivers a statement to the press at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, May 15, 2024. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant delivers a statement to the press at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, May 15, 2024. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

According to Hebrew-language media reports, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is expected to vote against contentious legislation that would lower the age of exemption from mandatory service for male Haredi Torah students from the current 26 to 21 while “very slowly” increasing the rate of ultra-Orthodox enlistment.

The majority of lawmakers from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party are expected to vote in favor of the legislation.

According to Haaretz, the vote is expected to reach the plenum after midnight tonight.

The legislation was initially proposed two years ago by National Unity leader Benny Gantz, who slammed Netanyahu’s revival of the bill as a political maneuver.

“The State of Israel needs soldiers and not political exercises that tear the people apart during a war,” Gantz declared last month, insisting that his proposal had been advanced as an interim measure only.

Ultra-Orthodox men of military age have been able to avoid being conscripted to the Israel Defense Forces for decades by enrolling in yeshivas for Torah study and obtaining repeated one-year service deferrals until they reach the age of military exemption.

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