Netanyahu pledges ultra-orthodox ‘army service waiver’

Israeli police detains ultra-Orthodox Jews during their protest against mandatory military service in Jerusalem (Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  December 16, 2022

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday pledged that under his leadership “no one will go to prison for learning Torah”, thus providing ultra-orthodox parties an army service waiver.

Netanyahu’s pledge was made during talks with representatives of United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas during discussions on the exemption of yeshiva students from military service.

The Jerusalem Post reported that after discussions held in recent days by prominent members of the UTJ with Netanyahu and other members of his Likud Party, agreements were reached on most of the UTJ’s demands.

According to some of the agreements reached, the government will introduce a basic law on Torah, making it difficult for the Supreme Court to invalidate the arrangement and providing exemptions for Torah students from serving in the army.