Israel’s High Court rules Haredi men no longer exempt from mandatory military service

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Religion

JERUSALEM (RNS) — Within hours of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, three of Rebecca Kowalsky’s sons and two of her sons-in-law were called up for emergency military reserve duty. Released after a few months, two of the five have been called up again. Not so Kowalsky’s ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, relatives, who are under a law — recently expired — that exempts army-age Haredi men engaged in full-time Torah study from Israel’s mandatory military service.
Kowalsky and much of the Israeli public want these exemptions to end, especially now that Israel is at war with Hamas and could soon be at war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“I don’t know how they live with themselves,” Kowalsky said of the vast majority of Haredi men who continue to study in yeshivas amid the war. “I am an Orthodox Jew. I believe in the power of Torah and in the Torah. Why shouldn’t they share in the burden of protecting Israel?” Kowalsky said.
The country’s High Court agrees.
In a historic decision, the judges ruled unanimously Tuesday (June 25) that draft-age Haredi men are not exempt from the country’s mandatory military service, even if they are studying in a yeshiva. The ruling also obligates the state to cease funding yeshivas that fail to co …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnJERUSALEM (RNS) — Within hours of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, three of Rebecca Kowalsky’s sons and two of her sons-in-law were called up for emergency military reserve duty. Released after a few months, two of the five have been called up again. Not so Kowalsky’s ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, relatives, who are under a law — recently expired — that exempts army-age Haredi men engaged in full-time Torah study from Israel’s mandatory military service.
Kowalsky and much of the Israeli public want these exemptions to end, especially now that Israel is at war with Hamas and could soon be at war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“I don’t know how they live with themselves,” Kowalsky said of the vast majority of Haredi men who continue to study in yeshivas amid the war. “I am an Orthodox Jew. I believe in the power of Torah and in the Torah. Why shouldn’t they share in the burden of protecting Israel?” Kowalsky said.
The country’s High Court agrees.
In a historic decision, the judges ruled unanimously Tuesday (June 25) that draft-age Haredi men are not exempt from the country’s mandatory military service, even if they are studying in a yeshiva. The ruling also obligates the state to cease funding yeshivas that fail to co …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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