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Israel: defence minister says govt consensus needed for new conscription law

February 29, 2024 at 2:26 pm

Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant speaks during a joint press conference with US secretary of defence, in Tel Aviv on December 18, 2023. [ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant insisted on Wednesday that his ministry will not push for the enactment of a military conscription law without the approval of all components of the emergency government.

His statement comes as the Israeli government is required to enact a conscription law, even though the Haredim partners in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government demand exemption from mandatory conscription into the army for students of Torah institutes and graduates of religious educational institutions. This is rejected by secular parties, including National Unity, which joined the emergency government following the outbreak of the war on Gaza.

Gallant told a press conference that there is an urgent national need to extend military service periods in the ranks of the regular forces and extend the service time of reserve soldiers. He added that any conscription law agreed upon by all parties of the emergency government would be acceptable to him, although his security system will not support such a law without the approval of all coalition components.

The minister added that he believes that the war has demonstrated the need for everyone to share the burden. It is important, he added, to reach a comprehensive plan for conscription that includes all sections of Israeli society, including an increasing number of Haredim. He urged Netanyahu to work with all coalition parties to reach the necessary consensus.

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