IDF, Conscription Law, Opinion

Anger over revival of conscription law, the shameful decision of the Knesset

The continuation of the controversial draft bill in Israel serves as a slap in the face to soldiers who have been serving since October 7th.

Haredim and IDF Soldiers at Western Wall (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The legislative revival of the conscription law has dealt a severe blow to the soldiers who have been serving since October 7th along with the countless others who have been killed in action. Despite the ongoing operation in Gaza, the Knesset, instead of feeling ashamed, made the heartless move to proceed in advancing this law just hours after the tragic loss of four soldiers.

The most distressing part of this entire ordeal occurred on the night between Monday and Tuesday, when the Knesset voted in favour of the conscription law that exempts ultra-Orthodox men from military service. A decision serving as a direct insult to those who continue to dedicate themselves to the IDF, especially considering that just a few hours prior to the vote, four brave soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives for the safety of the country.

The coalition members were well aware of the tragic incident in Rafah that claimed the lives of these young conscripts, yet they still chose to advance the law, with some even displaying smiles afterwards. Even if there are potential changes to the law in the future to better align with the needs of the army, the act of voting on a text demonstrates the epitome of inequality that exists within Israeli society.

The 63 coalition members and ministers, excluding Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, raised their hands in support of this law during one of the most challenging wars in Israel's history, causing irreparable harm to the conscripts, reservists, and their families. Gallant was one of the few to stand against the vote saying the bill's 'gradual draft approach' fell short of the Army's current needs.

Among the conscripts, there are already two groups of draftees who were supposed to be discharged but are now being called upon for emergency service (Tzav 8). Additionally, many reservist men and women have accumulated over 100 days away from their civilian lives, due to shortage of armed forces and soldiers needed on both fronts of the war. This includes soldiers who haven't been given time off since October 7th caused by their being an insufficient number of soldiers to defend the country during such a time.

It is the IDF who carries the burden of the country's safety on their shoulders, but it seems the government have little issue with such a huge sacrifice other voting to continue the disproportionate imbalance of who must serve in the army, and who doesn't. For our soldiers serving on the front lines, the perpetual injustice continues.

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