Netanyahu’s Coalition Threatened by Religious Draft Law Controversy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, already under pressure from left-wing protests and U.S. intelligence agencies’ predictions of collapse, faces a new challenge: a fight over a law drafting religious soldiers.

Members of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities are exempt from military service, under a policy that dates to the early days of the state, when Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion allowed religious scholars to avoid the army.

But as the religious population has grown, there has been growing resentment among the rest of Israel’s population, which shoulders the burden of conscription (and taxation, as many religious institutions are subsidized by the state).

Many ultra-Orthodox Israelis have volunteered to help the country in other ways, notably as first responders. But in the wake of the October 7 terror attack and the mass mobilization of reservists, there was new impetus for reform.

Netanyahu’s coalition, which currently includes some members of the opposition in an emergency government of national unity, has been grappling with the issue of how to resolve lingering questions about the religious draft.

The challenge is that some religious, or Haredi (meaning “trembling,” a sign of their reverence for God) parties, could quit Netanyahu’s coalition if the law is too ambitious. At the same time, centrist Benny Gantz, goaded by opposition parties still outside the government, has threatened to quit the coalition if the law is not ambitious enough. And Israel’s attorney general has weighed in, suggesting the current version of the draft law will not pass judicial muster.

The puzzle could fulfill U.S. intelligence agencies’ odd prediction that Netanyahu’s coalition will collapse — or it could mark the resolution of one of the most difficult problems in Israel, one of the few positive achievements of a grim war.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Marjorie Taylor Greene: ‘I’m Not Bringing Chaos — I’m Forcing Change’

N.J. Threat Assessment Riddled With Extreme Bias