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Israel parliament approves conscription law reform

The Israeli Knesset [official website] on Wednesday approved a bill [press release] that would draft previously exempt individuals, including ultra-Orthodox men, into the military. Security Service Bill (amendment No. 19), 2014, also known as the Enlistment Bill and the Equal Service Bill, was approved in its third reading by a vote of 65-1, with opposition parties boycotting the vote. The legislation requires that ultra-Orthodox Jews either join the army or perform civilian service and includes imprisonment for those attempting to evade conscription. The new law will take effect in 2017.

The Israeli Cabinet approved the bill [JURIST report] in July. Israel's military service law demands all Israeli citizens be drafted at age 18, but ultra-Orthodox men studying in seminaries, religious women and Arab citizens had been exempted from military service since Israel's founding. The country's new government that took office last March is the first one in almost 20 years without any ultra-Orthodox parties.

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