update deskIsrael News

Court petition demanding Arab draft seeks to expose justices’ ‘hypocrisy’

On Thursday, Israel's High Court annulled stipends for some haredi Jews who do not serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

Regional Cooperation Minister Dudi Amsalem arrives for a Likud meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Jan. 8, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Regional Cooperation Minister Dudi Amsalem arrives for a Likud meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Jan. 8, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

A petition submitted to Israel’s High Court demanding a universal draft for the country’s Arab citizens seeks to expose justices’ “hypocrisy” in the wake of a ruling annulling stipends for some haredi Jewish men who do not serve, Regional Cooperation Minister Dudi Amsalem said on Sunday.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, sitting as the High Court of Justice, ruled that ultra-Orthodox yeshivah students who did not obtain a deferral and who have failed to report to the Israel Defense Forces since July 1, 2023, will now be ineligible for financial stipends.

The court decided that an extended panel of nine justices would hear petitions demanding a universal draft for haredim starting in May.

Amsalem, who also serves as a lawmaker for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, noted that “according to the law as it is today, every Arab has to go to the recruitment office, and the IDF decides whether to recruit him for the IDF or for national service.”

However, “since the establishment of the state until today, this doesn’t happen—yet the Supreme Court, during a war, rushed to attack the haredim and Torah scholars,” he said on Sunday.

“The students of Torah are a thorn in the side of the occupants of this building, which I call the building of the hypocrites,” Amsalem said in reference to the court.

“I want to see what those hypocrites will do now with the Arabs. I promise you—nothing. Because there is a lot of hatred for Judaism and the Jewish people’s heritage here,” he added.

Amsalem’s petition points out that while according to the Israeli Security Service Law, also known as the Israeli Defense Service Law, all citizens and permanent residents are equally obligated to report for military or national service, the IDF does not conscript Muslim and Christian Arabs, but rather inducts those to volunteer.

As of December 2022, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics estimated the country’s Muslim population in Israel to be 18.1% of the total. At the same time, the haredi public comprised 13.5% of the population.

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