Tue 11 Jun 2024 4:58 pm - Jerusalem Time

After his refusal to support the conscription law, Netanyahu’s office director: “Gallant is shameless and must be fired.”

In the wake of the Knesset’s vote, yesterday, Monday, on the conscription law, which would exempt a large segment of the Haredim (religious Jews), which was opposed by the Minister of the Occupation Army, Yoav Gallant, the director of the Prime Minister’s Office launched a harsh criticism of Gallant, demanding his dismissal.

Gallant is the only member of the coalition (affiliated with the Likud Party), headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposed the proposal, which was supported by 63 members of the Knesset.

After the vote, Gallant commented: “It is forbidden to carry out petty politics at the expense of army soldiers.”

Despite the silence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his lack of comment on the matter, his office director, Tzachi Braverman, criticized the occupying army minister and his vote against the proposal, saying: “Shameless, and he must be dismissed,” according to what Maariv newspaper reported.

The Israeli Knesset approved a controversial law regarding the recruitment of religious students into the army amid angry scenes on Monday, which included demands from the families of some detainees in Gaza for more measures to secure their release.

The vote and confrontations come a day after former centrist General Benny Gantz resigned from the government over a dispute over the strategic objectives of the Gaza war, which also highlights the volatile mix of forces opposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now increasingly dependent on his allies from the far-right.

The draft law on conscription, which still must pass further readings and hearings after the vote that took place on Monday evening, will witness the gradual entry into the army of some religiously observant Jews who have long objected to serving in the armed forces.

Although Gantz had proposed the bill in 2022 under the previous government, he now opposes this measure, which he says is not suitable for the new specifications of personnel needed by the army.

Defense Minister Yoav Galant, the last of a group of former generals to remain in the government following the departure of Gantz and his ally, former Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, broke ranks and voted to reject the bill.

In contrast, the religious parties in the ruling coalition approved the draft law despite their previous opposition to the general expansion of compulsory conscription, in the hope of introducing changes at the review stage.

The draft law allows more religious adherents to join the army, but it severely restricts their numbers and provides some alternatives to military service.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of one of the pro-settlement parties in the coalition, said in a statement: “We have a great opportunity that we must not miss. We must not tighten the screws on the religious fanatics.”

The issue of lifting some restrictions on the recruitment of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army has been a contentious issue for decades in a country where military service is widely considered one of the cornerstones of its security.

This issue, which displeases many secular Israelis, has become more sensitive than ever since the beginning of the war in Gaza, in which more than 600 occupation soldiers were killed.

Assaf Shapira, head of the political reform program at the Israel Democracy Institute, said in a statement to Reuters: “There are those who supported it then and oppose it now because they see it as a mistake for Israel now, and there are those who opposed it then and will support it now because they see an opportunity to change it.”


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After his refusal to support the conscription law, Netanyahu’s office director: “Gallant is shameless and must be fired.”