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Israel High Court dismisses petition to conscript Arab Israelis into military service

April 9, 2024 at 5:02 pm

Arab-Israelis and a group that supports them march with coffins made of cardboard to protest the government’s inability to fight criminals in the murders committed against Arabs at the Kaplan Street, which has become the center of the demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 26, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s High Court of Justice dismissed a petition yesterday filed by Regional Cooperation Minister, David Amsalem, against Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, and Attorney-General, Gali Baharav-Miara, aimed to conscript Arab Israeli citizens into military service.

Amsalem’s decision to file a petition against a cabinet member occurred amidst the ongoing debate over whether ultra-Orthodox, known in Hebrew as Haredim, should be compelled to serve in the IDF.

The Haredim, who account for approximately 12 per cent of Israel’s population, do not serve in the military and devote themselves to full-time Torah study.

While Israeli law mandates military service for all citizens over the age of 18, the exemption of Haredim from this requirement has sparked debate in the country for years.

According to The Times of Israel, the Court criticised Amsalem for the deficiencies in his petition, highlighting a pattern of similar measures he has previously filed, including those concerning Arab enlistment. All these petitions were dismissed without hearings due to lacking sufficient evidence or failing to solicit a response from the subject of the petition prior to its submission.

The Court observed that in this petition, too, he had not included a response from Gallant or the Attorney-General regarding his concerns. Moreover, the three judges presiding over the petition, which included conservative justice, Noam Sohlberg, criticised the letter as insufficient.

They also noted that since Amsalem’s last attempt, a new Knesset and government had been established, and nearly two years had passed and, therefore, rejected Amsalem’s recent petition.

In response, Amsalem slammed the decision, on X, stating: “It’s unthinkable that instead of being a country with a High Court we’re a High Court with a country. In the kingdom of hypocrites, hatred of Jews overcomes all justice and logic.”

The Israeli political system is witnessing several divisions, including major disagreements between the ministers of the right-wing coalition led by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on the one hand, and the Ministers of the State camp led by Gantz, on the other.

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