Israeli cabinet approves ‘historic’ equal service bill, does not apply to Israel’s Arabs

( A bill requiring eligible ultra-Orthodox men to report for military duty or civilian service in Israel was approved in a 14-4 vote by the Israeli cabinet on Sunday.

The bill, proposed by a committee headed by Israeli Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, states that starting in 2017, all eligible haredi men over the age of 18 will be expected to report at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) induction centers for enlistment, excluding 1,800 students who will be granted exemptions. The proposal allows for a three-year deferment of service, after which each individual will have to decide whether they wish to serve in the IDF or a civilian program.

“After 65 years, we are righting the wrong of inequality in sharing the burden,” Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Sunday, Israel Hayom reported. “It is for the good of the haredi community and for the good of Israeli society. There will be true equality after this cabinet meeting. This is a historic day.”

Israeli Arabs were not included under the proposed bill’s requirements.

“I attach a great deal of importance to involving [haredim] and Israel’s Arab citizens in sharing the national burden, and the current proposal does address the issue, but I feel that it isn’t complete yet,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “We will have to continue dealing with the matter.”

Posted on July 7, 2013 .