Jewish Party Vows to Quit Israeli Government over Army Bill

United Torah Judaism (UTJ), a right-wing Jewish religious party, has vowed to withdraw from Israel’s governing coalition if the Knesset approves a draft law on compulsory military service, reports Anadolu Agency.

The Israeli Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday:

It went on to point out that the Council of Torah Sages (CTS), a rabbinical policy-making body, had instructed the UTJ’s six MPs to withdraw from Israel’s governing coalition if the Knesset approved an amended version of the draft law.

The newspaper noted that the country’s current military service law was set to expire in September so the Knesset must pass an alternative law before then.

The paper asserted:

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the CTS has ordered its MPs to work on amending the proposed legislation and ensure that Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman maintains the authority to exempt yeshiva students from the IDF draft.

However, Israel’s Channel 10 recently quoted Lieberman as saying that he would not retreat from the draft’s current wording.

Army service is mandatory for all Israeli citizens (three years for men and two years for women), with the exception of members of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews account for roughly 10 percent of Israel’s total population. They tend to live in closed communities and adhere to strict interpretations of Jewish religious law.

Source: Palestine Chronicle