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Israeli government approves controversial conscription bill

Orthodox Jews protest against compulsory military service in Israel on 8 June 2017 in New York, US [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]
Orthodox Jews protest against compulsory military service in Israel on 8 June 2017 [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli ministerial committee on legislation approved yesterday a controversial bill that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from recruitment into the Israeli army, Quds Press reported.

As there were still some objections inside the government, the Times of Israel said it was not clear whether this approval reflected an agreement among the coalition government or not.

According to Quds Press Yisrael Beytenu Minister Sofa Landver, who did not attend the vote, filed an appeal with the cabinet against the bill.

Times of Israel said that this means either the committee will need to meet again or the cabinet will need to cancel the appeal.

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Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said the bill still needed rewording in order to be able to defend it before the High Court.

Speaking to the Knesset on Sunday, Netanyahu said that he wished to avoid early elections. “We are working toward a stable government that will continue until the end of its term in November 2019,” he said.

But Ynet News reported senior coalition members harshly criticising him along with the Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, “asserting the two are working together to call early elections”.

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