Gantz slams PM’s Haredi enlistment move: ‘Israel needs soldiers, not political tricks’

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"

National Unity party head and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz holds a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, April 21, 2024. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
National Unity party head and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz holds a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, April 21, 2024. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz criticizes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s embrace of Gantz’s previously endorsed plan for ultra-Orthodox enlistment.

“The State of Israel needs soldiers and not political tricks that tear the people apart during wartime,” he declares, saying that his proposal had been advanced as an interim measure and as “a basis for the development of an Israeli service outline, in order to bring about [military] service for all sections of the people.”

That law “was not satisfactory then, and is not relevant in today’s post-October 7 reality,” he argues, stating that “the time for talk is over, it’s time for action.”

The ultra-Orthodox parties fiercely object to drafting yeshiva students to the military, while the High Court of Justice has ruled that the current situation violates the principle of equality and critics of the Haredi community argue that it is forcing the rest of the population to shoulder the burden of risking combat fighters’ lives in battle.

Gantz had previously insisted his version of the law needed to be accompanied by efforts to extend the national service requirement to both ultra-Orthodox and Arab Israelis.

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