Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Israel's Top Court Rejects Orthodox Draft Law; Means Ultra-Orthodox Jews Need Not Serve in Mil.

Israel's highest court today (February 22, 2012) struck down a law designed to encourage ultra-Orthodox Jews to join the military and the workforce -- saying it had backfired by "entrenching" their blanket draft exemptions and protracted seminary studies -- according to the Reuters website.

The 2002 "Service Deferred Law" offered the ultra-Orthodox Jews -- who make up 10 percent of Israel's population and are often dependent on welfare to live -- a choice upon reaching draft age between studying in seminaries or working. The latter option required first enlisting in the military.

By a vote of 6 to 3, the Supreme Court declared that the law was unconstitutional.

The court also said that the law failed to achieve its objectives -- and even "entrenched" ultra-Orthodox Jews into their traditional lifestyle -- as it resulted in low military enlistments.