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Israel’s Supreme Court. (Photo: Video Grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Amsalem filed the “highly unusual” petition amid the ongoing debate over whether ultra-Orthodox Jews should be mandated to serve in the military.

Israel’s High Court of Justice has rejected a petition filed by Regional Cooperation Minister David Amsalem Dudi Amsalem against Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, demanding that Palestinian citizens of Israel be conscripted into military service, according to an Israeli media report.

Amsalem filed the “highly unusual” petition against a fellow cabinet member amid the ongoing debate over whether ultra-Orthodox Jews should be mandated to serve in the military, reported The Times of Israel.

Also known as the Haredim, the “politically powerful ultra-Orthodox” who make up roughly 13 percent of Israeli society, have traditionally received “blanket exemptions” if they are studying full-time in a religious seminary, the paper said.

The court rebuked Amsalem for “deficiencies in his petition” highlighting similar measures he had previously filed, including those concerning “Arab enlistment.”

All of those petitions “have been rejected without hearings, since they lacked the necessary evidentiary basis or did not bother to seek a response from the subject of the petition before it was filed,” the report said.

In the current petition, Amsalem failed to include a response from Gallant or the Attorney-General regarding his concern, the court noted.

The report further said that “in his previous petition on Arab enlistment in 2022, Amsalem did ultimately send a letter to then-defense minister Benny Gantz,” which he included in his latest petition.

The judges however felt the letter did not suffice, “since a new Knesset and government have been formed since his last effort and that nearly two years had passed since,” rejecting his petition “without requiring responses from the respondents or holding court hearings.”

Decision Rebuked

Amsalem, which the paper describes as a “fierce Netanyahu loyalist”, slammed the decision on X.

“It’s unthinkable that instead of being a country with a High Court we’re a High Court with a country. In the kingdom of hypocrites, hatred of Jews overcomes all justice and logic,” he wrote.

According to the paper, most Jewish Israeli men are required to serve nearly three years followed by years of annual reserve duty, with many Jewish women serving two years.

Palestinian citizens of Israel “are not required to serve, though some volunteer,” the report said.

The exemptions afforded to the ultra-Orthodox have caused anger amongst the wider general public.

‘We Will Leave’

Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has threatened that the Haredim will leave the country if they are forced to serve in the army, Israeli media reported last month.

“If they force us to join the army, we would all fly out of the country, buy tickets, and go,” Channel 12 reported, quoting the chief rabbi of Sephardic Jews as saying.

“They have to understand this, all those secularists, they don’t get it,” the chief rabbi said, warning that “it puts the state at stake.”

The internal dissent over enlistment has caused the coalition government to be thrown into disarray.

Plan to Update Law

Israeli media reported earlier this month that Netanyahu sought to establish a ministerial committee to draft an updated enlistment law for ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The country’s Supreme Court has ordered an end to government subsidies to schools for ultra-Orthodox men eligible for army enlistment.

The court gave the government a deadline to present a new plan, and until June 30 to pass it.

“Netanyahu is working with the National Security Council to form a ministerial committee to draft a conscription law to override the court ruling or at least create a feeling of some progress towards legislation,” Israeli Channel 12 said.

Netanyahu’s government includes parties supportive of ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi Jews such as the Shas Party, which has 11 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (Israel’s parliament), and United Torah Judaism Party (seven seats).

The parties fiercely oppose the plan.


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