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Gantz looks to form committee on reforming conscription rules

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a conference for retired Israelis in the Eshkol region, on July 13, 2021. (Flash90)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a conference for retired Israelis in the Eshkol region, on July 13, 2021. (Flash90)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says that he plans to form a committee to consider how to reform the country’s conscription policy, as only roughly half of potential recruits actually enlist in the military after high school.

“After the Sukkot holiday, we will form a government committee dedicated to the reformation of national and state service, which I have been working on and which the defense establishment has been working on for over a year,” Gantz says, following a meeting with religious soldiers.

Gantz and the director-general of his ministry, Amir Eshel, have both come out in favor of a universal national service model to replace the current system, which exempts Arab Israelis and nearly all ultra-Orthodox Israelis from having to perform either military or civil service.

Gantz says that this reform is necessary in order to both preserve the Israel Defense Forces as a “people’s army,” in which every citizen regardless of background is expected to serve, and to strengthen the country.

“There is no better alternative and I plan to act and to do whatever is necessary so that this reform goes forward,” he says.

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