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Ultra-Orthodox Jews no longer exempt from military service in Israel

Ultra-Orthodox Jews no longer exempt from military service in Israel
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Israeli MPs have voted 67-1 in favour of a law which would see ultra-Orthodox Jews included in compulsory military service.

The opposition boycotted the vote in protest.

Until now, ultra-Orthodox Jews had avoided being in the army, saying they served the country through prayer and study.

The legislation will come in in 2017 and will limit the number of those who can be exempt to 1,800.

“This law creates a process not an overnight change, but a process by which slowly they will be integrated more and more into the military and also to the workforce.This is an important value for us as a nation in general to be unified “ Dov Lippman MK from the Yesh Atid party said.

Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews have protested in the run up to the law being passed and say they will hold more mass rallies if it is enforced.

Itzhak Vaknin MK from the ultra-orthodox Shas party explained why he was opposed to the new law: “This legislation is problematic for one reason, which in my opinion is unacceptable, it will say that a Jew who studies the Torah is committing a crime and will go to prison.”

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, also amended other laws including raising the percentage of votes needed for a seat in parliament, which is widely seen as targeting Arab parties.