Lapid says government’s Haredi enlistment bill is a ‘betrayal’ of IDF soldiers

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"

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid leads a meeting of his Yesh Atid party at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 10, 2024. (Sam Sokol/Times of Israel)
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid leads a meeting of his Yesh Atid party at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 10, 2024. (Sam Sokol/Times of Israel)

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid accuses the government of betraying its soldiers and their families, saying that the coalition’s efforts to excuse the ultra-Orthodox from military service are set to extract a high cost from those already serving.

“After the evasion law, on Sunday the government will drop the cost on us,” Lapid says in a video message posted to social media. “Three resolutions will be voted on: more reserve days per year, more years in the reserves and the extension of regular service.”

If, in order to spare the ultra-Orthodox from serving, the government extends the service of the regular and reserve soldiers, “this is a betrayal of the fighters, a betrayal of the reservists, a betrayal of families,” he continues. “I call on the members of the Knesset from all factions — including Likud: let’s stop this madness. This is our emergency mobilization order.”

Lapid’s comments come days after the Knesset voted 63-57 to apply “continuity” to a bill from the previous Knesset dealing with the military service of yeshiva students, reviving the contentious legislation amid the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. The legislation will now advance to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to be prepared for the second and third readings it must pass to become law.

If eventually approved, the bill would lower the current age of exemption from mandatory service for Haredi yeshiva students from 26 to 21 and “very slowly” increase the rate of ultra-Orthodox conscription.

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