Students join fight for universal conscription

Students join fight for universal conscription

‘Netanyahu abandoned the soldiers, young people, students, immigrants, taxpayers and reservists,’ says student union head

Activists of the 'suckers' movement pitch a tent in a Tel Aviv park on June 26, 2012 (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)
Activists of the 'suckers' movement pitch a tent in a Tel Aviv park on June 26, 2012 (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

One day after the dissolution of the Plesner committee by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Student Union announced Tuesday it would join the fight for universal conscription.

At an emergency press conference conducted in a protest tent in Tel Aviv nicknamed the “Suckers’ Tent,” union chairman Itzik Shmuly declared that “all the student organizations gathered here today and decided to take active part in the struggle for equal burden.”

Shmuly said a demonstration will take place on Saturday night at the plaza in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

On Monday, Netanyahu moved to dissolve the Plesner panel, which had been tasked with drafting new legislation for universal conscription. Currently yeshiva students are exempt from civilian or army service under the expiring Tal Law, which the High Court recently declared unconstitutional.

“The prime minister decided to be consistent in reneging on his promises to the public. First in the case of the tents protest, now in the battle for equal service legislation,” Shmuly said, referring to recent moves by officials to quash the restarting of last summer’s high-cost-of-living social protests.

“By dismantling the Plesner committee, Netanyahu effectively relinquished his obligations to the soldiers, young people, students, immigrants, people [outside central Israel], taxpayers and reservists,” Shmuly declared. “The days of political wheeling and dealing are over. Students will join the protest and lead the change.”

The original “Suckers’ Tent” was set up February in Wohl Rose Park, across the street from the Knesset, by IDF service members and mothers of soldiers to protest the Tal Law’s near-blanket exemption of yeshiva students from army or national service.

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