Israeli bill calls for male nat’l service

Israeli bill calls for male nat’l service


A new bill requiring all Israeli citizens exempt from mandatory military service to conduct national or civilian service, which is currently voluntary, was expected to be brought to a vote by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation yesterday.

The bill, proposed by Israeli deputy Moshe Matalon from the Yisrael Beiteinu party and signed by party faction members and deputy Uri Ariel of the National Union party, would apply only to males and would require anyone who is not serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for reasons other than physical unsuitability to conduct non-military service for 24 months, daily Jerusalem Post reported yesterday.

“The government must require all citizens to equally share the missions we are given,” Matalon said. “It is unreasonable that only a small part of Israel’s population will carry the entire state’s burden on its shoulders.”

Matalon referred to “disconcerting enlistment rates that indicate that in the not-very- distant future only half of 18-year-olds will join the Israel Defense Forces and take part in this task.”

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which determines the government’s position on bills, is unlikely to vote in favor of the bill, as it will certainly face fierce opposition from coalition member parties Shas and United Torah Judaism.

By 2020, 60 percent of Israelis will not be serving in the military, the head of the IDF Manpower Directorate, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, said Nov. 17.

According to the bill’s text, “it cannot be that some 18-year-old men... serve the country and defend it, while others do not serve and do not contribute. Those who are exempt [from army service] should not be exempt from an alternative contribution, such as national or civilian service in public institutions in need of help,” the bill said.