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Supreme Court Of Israel Rules Ultra-Orthodox Students Must Be Drafted To IDF

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men clash with police officers during a protest against drafting into the Israeli army on June 2, 2024 in Bnei Brak, Israel. The country’s attorney general is at odds with the government on enforcement of a law that will require Yeshiva students to serve in the military, something they’ve historically been exempt from.(Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
12:21 PM – Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Israel’s Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students must be drafted to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). 


The landmark ruling that took place on Tuesday follows exemptions put in place for young men registered in full-time religious study. However, a law that had allowed the practice to continue recently expired. 

A waiver for ultra-Orthodox men had recently become an urgent issue due to the toll on Israeli armed forces from the ongoing fighting against Hamas terrorists.

“In the midst of a grueling war, the burden of inequality is harsher than ever and demands a solution,” the top justices said.

The Israeli military is often described as “the People’s Army” by most Israelis. Unless you are an Israeli Arab or Christian, or previously, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary student, you are required by law to serve at age 18.

Men and women have to serve two to three years respectively as well as reserve duty until around age 40. 

The Israeli justices further emphasized that they were not telling the Jewish State to draft a certain number of Haredi yeshiva students, and they indicated that the process could be slow. However, the justices also warned the government that the process must begin now.

The exemptions have been controversial to those of the secular public, which is a divide that has widened during the eight-month-old war, as the military has had to call up thousands of troops in their ongoing war against Hamas. More than 600 soldiers have been killed since Hamas’ October 7th terrorist attack. 

If the exemptions end, the ultra-Orthodox parties could possibly leave the coalition, which could cause the government to collapse and lead to new elections. 

The court noted in their ruling that a large number of young Haredi men have been exempt until now, some 63,000. “Non-enforcement of the provisions of the Security Service Law creates severe discrimination between those who are required to serve” and those who are exempted from army service.

“In these days, in the midst of a severe war, the burden of inequality is more acute than ever — and requires the promotion of a sustainable solution to this issue,” the court declared.

According to the Israeli parliament’s State Control Committee, close to 10% of the ultra-Orthodox enlist each year when they reach the conscription age of 18.

Furthermore, special military units already exist, which allows ultra Orthodox men to serve as combat soldiers by creating conditions that abide by their religious beliefs and strict observance of Jewish religious law. 

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