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New Committee Will Write Israel Draft Law

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz have agreed on the establishment of a team to write a law on equality in military and national service.

The team was announced Sunday as the Likud Party unanimously approved the recommendations of the Plesner committee, which was charged with formulating a new law on haredi Orthodox military service.

The vote comes less than a week after Netanyahu dissolved the committee, citing the number of members who quit, and days after the committee issued its preliminary findings despite the dissolution.

The committee’s report calls for universal service for all Israeli citizens, including mandating the draft of haredi Orthodox men and upgrading the National Service program for the Arab sector. It also calls for formulating an effective enforcement system and incentives for serving. The report calls for individual financial sanctions against draft evaders, as well as sanctions against yeshivas that prevent their students from entering the draft.

The team writing the new law will be comprised of Mofaz, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon and lawmaker Yohanan Plesner of the Kadima Party.

The announcement of the vote and the team came a day after some 20,000 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv calling for a universal draft, including the haredi Orthodox and Arab Israelis.

Several Israeli politicians and IDF reserve officers attended the Tel Aviv rally, which demonstrated under the slogan “One people, one draft.” . In February, the Israeli Supreme Court declared that the Tal Law, which allowed haredi Orthodox men to defer service indefinitely, to be unconstitutional, and set Aug. 1 as the deadline for a new law to be passed.

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