Israeli Supreme Court Rules Ultra-Orthodox Must Serve In The Military

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In a landmark decision, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that ultra-Orthodox Jews must serve in the military, ending a decades-long exemption that has sparked controversy and debate in the country. The ruling, handed down on Wednesday, marks a significant shift in the country’s approach to military service and has far-reaching implications for the ultra-Orthodox community.

For years, ultra-Orthodox Jews, also known as Haredim, have been exempt from military service, citing their religious beliefs and the need to focus on Torah study. However, this exemption has been a source of tension and resentment among other Israelis, who have argued that it is unfair to expect them to bear the burden of military service while others are exempt.

The Supreme Court’s ruling comes in response to a petition filed by several organizations, including the Movement for Quality Government and the Forum for Equality in Sharing the Burden. The petitioners argued that the exemption was unconstitutional and discriminatory, and that it undermined the principle of equality and fairness in Israeli society.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court declared that the exemption was indeed unconstitutional and ordered the government to amend the law to require ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military. The court gave the government one year to implement the changes.

The ruling has been hailed as a major victory by those who have long argued that the exemption was unfair and undermined the cohesion of Israeli society. “This is a historic decision that will bring about a significant change in Israeli society,” said Uri Regev, CEO of Hiddush, a organization that advocates for religious freedom and equality. “It’s a victory for equality, fairness, and the values of mutual responsibility that are essential to our society.”

However, the ruling has also sparked outrage and disappointment among the ultra-Orthodox community, who argue that military service is incompatible with their religious beliefs and way of life. “This is a dark day for the State of Israel,” said Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party. “The Supreme Court has ignored the values of Torah study and the importance of preserving our unique way of life.”

The ruling also raises practical questions about how the ultra-Orthodox community will adapt to military service. The Israeli military has already begun to prepare for the integration of ultra-Orthodox soldiers, with plans to establish special units and programs to accommodate their unique needs and requirements.

Despite the challenges ahead, the Supreme Court’s ruling is seen as a significant step towards greater equality and fairness in Israeli society. As the country moves forward with implementing the changes, it is clear that this historic decision will have far-reaching implications for the ultra-Orthodox community, the Israeli military, and the country as a whole.

Background

The exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service dates back to the early days of the State of Israel. In 1948, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, granted an exemption to a small group of yeshiva students, citing the importance of preserving Jewish learning and tradition. Over time, the exemption was expanded to include all ultra-Orthodox Jews, who were deemed to be engaged in “Torah study” and therefore exempt from military service.

However, as the ultra-Orthodox community grew in size and influence, the exemption became increasingly controversial. Many Israelis argued that it was unfair to expect them to bear the burden of military service while others were exempt. The exemption also sparked tensions between the ultra-Orthodox community and the rest of Israeli society, with many accusing the ultra-Orthodox of not doing their fair share to defend the country.

In recent years, the issue has become increasingly politicized, with several parties and organizations calling for an end to the exemption. The Supreme Court’s ruling marks a significant turning point in the debate, and is likely to have far-reaching implications for Israeli society and politics.

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