Israel High Court ruling on orthodox immunity could jeopardize Netanyahu’s rule

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing an alliance crisis over the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army, a thorny battle at the heart of the country’s identity and its manpower amid a war with Hamas. Demand makes this struggle even more intense.

In a decision that will have far-reaching consequences for society, not to mention Netanyahu’s government, Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a suspension of state subsidies for ultra-Orthodox Jews who study in yeshiva instead of serving in the military. There are just days left before the April 1 deadline for the government to agree a new law to allow communities to avoid being drafted into the army.

“This has the potential to be the first break for this alliance,” said Gilad Mallah, an ultra-Orthodox expert at the Israel Democracy Institute, a think tank in Jerusalem. He said ultra-Orthodox leaders viewed the ruling as a betrayal of Neta. Nyahu’s pledge included guarantees of financial aid and military immunity in exchange for their political support.

Military exemptions date back to Israel’s founding, in 1949 when the country’s founder David Ben Gurion granted exemptions to 400 yeshiva students of draft age.

Since then, however, the number of people eligible for exemption has increased rapidly, with the ultra-Orthodox accounting for 13% of the population. Their party has been a key member of successive Netanyahu governments.

Netanyahu’s political survival now depends on his ability to appease them. He must do this while balancing the demands of other members of the cabinet who insist that all members of society should contribute equally to Israel’s war against Hamas.

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The dispute highlights tensions at the heart of modern Israel, which have grown increasingly acute as Israeli soldiers fight and die in Gaza’s more than five-month war.

Many ultra-Orthodox, also known as Orthodox in Israel, view conscription as an existential threat to their often isolated youths, exposing them to secular life. But more and more Israelis are unhappy with their failure to do their job. A survey by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 70 percent of Israeli Jews support ending blanket military immunity.

Court ruling ‘destroyes the foundations of the Jewish identity of the State of Israel’ Tweet Aryeh Deri, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party in the ruling coalition. “The people of Israel are locked in a battle for survival on multiple fronts, and the High Court judges tonight did their best to create a fratricidal war.”

If the ultra-Orthodox parties withdraw from the coalition in protest, it would force Israel to go into elections at a time when Netanyahu is deeply unpopular and his security credibility was shattered by the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Marach described it as another “shock” for the league. Meanwhile, a potential ceasefire with Hamas also threatens the support of Netanyahu’s far-right partners. “We’re getting more and more intense signals that the ship is rocking,” he said.

Netanyahu has asked the court for a 30-day extension to introduce a new draft bill before the current exemption expires at the end of this month. While the move was unsuccessful, Justice Minister Gali Baharav-Miara on Thursday opened the way for a transitional period freezing financial sanctions. Some analysts said that would delay a decision.

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“To please the court and the majority who want to significantly increase Orthodoxy’s contribution to Islam, [Israel Defense Forces] Yonah Jeremy Bob wrote in an article: “National Service or National Service in a Post-October 7 World, and a Condolence to Netanyahu, Orthodoxy, and Govt. ‘Throw a bone’ and the whole issue will basically be postponed for a few months.” Jerusalem Post Analysis.

Tzippy Yarom-Diskind, a journalist for the Orthodox newspaper Mishpacha, said such leeway was key to keeping the current government together. But she said the money the Jewish school could make up for through donations was less important than the substance of the court ruling.

“This was a big earthquake,” she said. “The state of Israel’s thinking is, ‘We will no longer support those who study Torah.'”

Jarom-Diskind, like other ultra-religious Jews, believed that the study of Judaism was as important as joining the military. “People cannot live here without acknowledging the virtues that the Torah gives us to live here, and those who protect the Torah protect our right to live here,” she said.

Behind the scenes, Orthodox parties still hope they can reach an agreement on the issue, she said, adding: “If not, they will go to the elections.”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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