Likud minister, MKs call for ‘new groups’ to join IDF – Israel Politics

“New groups” of Israeli citizens should be required to serve in the IDF, Likud Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Minister Amichai Chikli and MKs Moshe Saada and Dan Illouz wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

Chikli, Illouz, and Saada’s letter indicated their support for the recruitment of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men to the IDF, and came in the wake of public criticism over the government’s recently published plan to lengthen mandatory and reserve service for those who serve, while maintaining an exemption for haredim.

The writers said that they “could not be a part of this moral and ethical distortion.”

“Israel’s current security needs require a broadening of the circle of citizens who carry the burden (of military service). As opposed to normal times, a situation where some groups in society shoulder the security burden with its heavy prices, while others … continue on with their lives, can no longer be accepted with equanimity,” the three wrote.

Haredi youth enlist in the IDF’s Nachal Haredi unit at ‘Bakum,’ the IDF induction center. (credit: JONATHAN SHAUL)

Chikli, Saada, and Illouz acknowledged the fact that a draft of haredi men could not be accomplished by coercion, and therefore demanded that the new plan to lengthen IDF service only apply for a year, during which, “hopefully,” agreements would be made to enable additional groups to take part.

The plan to lengthen IDF service is necessary both because of the growing number of casualties in the war, and because of the need to enlarge the army in order to meet the heightened security situation. The main tenets of the plan are that mandatory service will be lengthened to three years; the age of reservist exception will rise from 40 to 45; the age of exemption for reservist officers will rise to 50; and the number of mandatory reserve duty days per year will double.

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