Israel may soon draft ultra-Orthodox Jews. What does it mean for the war and Netanyahu?

Israel may soon draft ultra-Orthodox Jews. What does it mean for the war and Netanyahu?

Israel’s Potential Draft of Ultra-Orthodox Jews: Implications for the Military

The ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, also known as the Haredim, represents approximately 10% of the Israeli population. This segment has been exempted from military service due to their religious beliefs and traditions. However, recent political developments might challenge this long-standing arrangement, potentially leading to significant



political implications


The Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been considering drafting the ultra-Orthodox youth into the military, arguing that this step would promote national unity and contribute to Israel’s security. This proposal has sparked intense debate, as many argue that the ultra-Orthodox community should be granted special accommodations within the military to preserve their religious practices.

If implemented, the draft of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the Israeli military could have several consequences. On the

positive side

, it might enhance the military’s overall strength and morale by adding a large, motivated cohort. However, there are concerns that this move could create tension within the ranks due to potential clashes between religious and secular soldiers. Furthermore, providing appropriate accommodations for ultra-Orthodox soldiers might entail additional resources and logistical challenges for the military leadership.

From a

political perspective

, the draft could significantly impact Netanyahu’s coalition and his political standing. The ultra-Orthodox parties, which hold considerable influence over religious issues and social welfare, have threatened to leave the government if this proposal is pursued. This could lead to instability within Netanyahu’s coalition and potentially early elections.

I. Introduction

Brief overview of the Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel:

The Ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, community in Israel is a distinct and influential demographic group that adheres to traditional Jewish law and customs. With an estimated population of over 650,000, or approximately 10% of the Israeli Jewish population, they form a significant political and cultural force in the country. Ultra-Orthodox Jews prioritize religious study over secular education and employment, leading to high birth rates and a relatively young population with large families. Their beliefs emphasize the importance of preserving traditional Jewish values, including strict adherence to Sabbath observance and separation from secular society.

Historical exemptions from military service:

Historically, Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel have been granted religious exemptions from mandatory military service. This practice was established during the British Mandate period and continued under various Israeli governments, allowing young men to study full-time in yeshivas (religious academies) instead of serving in the military. Women have also been exempted due to their roles as caregivers and educators within the community.

Context of the current situation:

Changing political dynamics:

However, in recent years, the Ultra-Orthodox community’s historical exemptions from military service have faced increasing challenges due to changing political dynamics. The Israeli government has expressed concerns over the financial burden of supporting a large population that does not contribute economically or militarily, as well as the community’s perceived insularity and reluctance to integrate into mainstream Israeli society. In response, some politicians have advocated for reforms that would require Ultra-Orthodox men to serve in the military or perform national service, while others have argued for maintaining the current exemptions.

Societal pressures:

Additionally, societal pressure on the Ultra-Orthodox community to change has grown, with some Israelis viewing their exemptions as unfair and unsustainable. There are also concerns about the community’s disproportionate representation in the government, particularly in coalition agreements that grant them political influence despite their small numbers. These factors have created a complex and contentious issue, with potential implications for Israeli democracy, identity, and social cohesion.

Discussion of the issue’s significance and potential outcomes

Impact on Israeli society and politics

The Ultra-Orthodox community’s military service exemptions have significant implications for Israeli society and politics. This issue is not only about military conscription but also represents larger questions about religious freedom, societal integration, and the balance between individual rights and collective responsibilities.

Possible outcomes

Depending on how this issue is addressed, potential outcomes include further reforms to the military draft system, increased social integration of Ultra-Orthodox communities, or continued tension and polarization between different sectors of Israeli society.


In conclusion, the Ultra-Orthodox community’s military service exemptions have been a contentious issue in Israel for decades. With changing political dynamics and societal pressures, this issue will continue to shape Israeli society and politics, potentially leading to significant shifts in religious freedoms, social integration, and government representation.

Israel may soon draft ultra-Orthodox Jews. What does it mean for the war and Netanyahu?

Background:: The Ultra-Orthodox Exemption from Military Service

Legal framework for military service in Israel

Israel’s military service is mandatory and regulated by the link (1952). The law stipulates that every Jewish and Druze male aged 18 is required to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) for a minimum of two or three years, depending on their track. Females have no mandatory military service but can volunteer.


Exemptions from military service are granted to certain groups including Ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, and others. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, also known as Haredim, make up about 10% of Israel’s population. They are granted exemptions based on their religious beliefs and educational priorities. Arab citizens of Israel, who comprise around 20% of the population, can also apply for deferrals due to their religious beliefs or for other reasons.

Social justification for the exemption

Religious beliefs and traditions: The Ultra-Orthodox community views military service as a potential threat to their religious lifestyle. Their rigorous study of Torah and adherence to traditional practices leave little room for military service, which is considered a significant disruption.

Educational priorities: Ultra-Orthodox schools focus on religious education and often do not provide secular studies required for military service. Students are expected to complete their religious studies before engaging in other pursuits, including military service.

Economic implications of the exemption

Workforce participation and employment: The Ultra-Orthodox exemption has significant economic implications. Although some Haredim do work, a substantial portion of the community relies on state benefits to support themselves. The high number of Ultra-Orthodox men exempted from military service limits their workforce participation and reduces their employability, contributing to a larger economic burden on the state.

Economic burden on the state: The Ultra-Orthodox community’s reliance on state benefits places a significant financial burden on the Israeli government. According to one estimate, over 60% of Haredi men receive some form of state assistance. The cost of supporting this community is estimated at around $1 billion per year.

Israel may soon draft ultra-Orthodox Jews. What does it mean for the war and Netanyahu?

I Recent Developments: The Call for Change

Recent years have seen intense debates and

political pressure

to reform the

draft law

in Israel. This push for change stems from a multitude of factors, including

security concerns and demographic shifts


economic reasons

, and growing concerns for social equality.

Political pressure to reform the draft law

Security concerns and demographic shifts

The security situation in Israel has been a major factor driving the need for draft law reform. With ongoing conflicts in the region, there is increasing recognition that every able-bodied citizen should contribute to national security. Meanwhile, demographic changes have shifted the population, leading to a larger percentage of ultra-Orthodox and Arab Israelis who are exempt from military service due to religious or ethnic reasons. This has sparked concerns that these groups are not fully integrated into Israeli society and contributing their fair share.

Economic reasons and social equality

Economic considerations have also played a role in the call for change. With the Israeli economy growing, there is a greater emphasis on ensuring that all citizens are contributing their fair share of taxes and labor. Meanwhile, some argue that the current draft law perpetuates social inequality, as those who serve in the military are often rewarded with better education and job opportunities upon discharge.

Public opinion and grassroots movements

Calls for national service instead of military service

Amidst these debates, there has been a growing call for national service as an alternative to military service. National service would provide opportunities for young Israelis to contribute to their communities and gain valuable skills, while still allowing those with religious or conscientious objections to opt out. Some argue that this would help address the demographic shifts and promote greater social cohesion.

Shifting attitudes towards Ultra-Orthodox community and their role in society

Finally, there have been shifting attitudes towards the Ultra-Orthodox community and their role in Israeli society. While they have traditionally been granted exemptions from military service due to religious reasons, there is growing pressure to integrate them into the workforce and ensure that they are contributing their fair share. This has led to calls for reforms that would make the draft law more inclusive, while still respecting religious freedoms.

Israel may soon draft ultra-Orthodox Jews. What does it mean for the war and Netanyahu?

Implications for the Military

Military readiness and capabilities: Current situation and potential impact of drafting Ultra-Orthodox Jews

The current situation regarding the military service of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel raises significant issues concerning manpower requirements and military budgets. With the ongoing growth of this community, approximately one million strong, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) face a challenge in maintaining the necessary manpower to ensure military readiness and capabilities. The potential impact of drafting Ultra-Orthodox Jews could significantly alter the demographic composition of the IDF and possibly lead to increased budget allocations for accommodating their unique needs.

Military integration: Challenges and benefits of integrating Ultra-Orthodox soldiers into the military

Integrating Ultra-Orthodox soldiers into the military poses both challenges and benefits. On the one hand, there are cultural sensitivities and accommodation requirements that must be addressed. These include the observance of religious practices such as Sabbath, dietary laws, and prayer times. Moreover, the Ultra-Orthodox community’s emphasis on education and family life may impact their ability to meet military discipline and performance standards. On the other hand, military service can provide positive outcomes for the Ultra-Orthodox community, such as increased self-reliance and employment opportunities upon discharge.

Strategic alliances and international relations: Israel’s position in the region and global community

The issue of military service for Ultra-Orthodox Jews has wider implications for Israel’s strategic alliances and international relations. Israel’s commitment to ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all its citizens is a crucial aspect of its reputation as a democratic state. However, the perception that Israel exempts a significant portion of its population from military service could negatively impact its image in the region and globally. Furthermore, diplomatic implications may arise for military cooperation with other countries, especially those that prioritize military readiness and capabilities highly.

Israel may soon draft ultra-Orthodox Jews. What does it mean for the war and Netanyahu?

Implications for Netanyahu and His Political Future

Domestic political considerations:

  1. Balancing the needs of various constituencies within Israel: As Prime Minister, Netanyahu must carefully manage the interests and demands of different groups within Israeli society. Two significant constituencies include:
    • Ultra-Orthodox community: Netanyahu must address the concerns and demands of this influential religious bloc, who may be critical of any peace deal with the Palestinians. They could potentially withdraw their political support if they feel their interests are not being met.
    • Secular and religious Zionist groups: Netanyahu must also appease secular and religious Zionist groups, who may have different views on the peace process. Secular Israelis might support a more aggressive approach, while religious Zionists could push for greater territorial claims. Balancing these groups’ interests will be crucial to Netanyahu’s political survival.

International relations:

Netanyahu’s handling of the peace process could have far-reaching implications for Israel‘s standing in the world:

  1. Relations with the United States and Europe:: The U.S. and European allies are crucial partners for Israel in terms of diplomatic, economic, and military support. A failed peace process could lead to increased criticism from these countries, potentially damaging the relationship and diminishing their support.
  2. Reactions from neighboring countries and international organizations:: Israel’s relations with its neighbors could also be affected. Hostility or instability in the region could lead to increased tensions and potential conflicts, which would further complicate Netanyahu’s domestic political situation.

Personal political legacy:

Netanyahu’s stance on the peace process could significantly impact his political career and reputation:

  1. Perceived commitment to national security:: Netanyahu’s ability to maintain Israel’s security will be a key factor in his political success. If he is seen as taking a strong stance against potential threats, this could bolster his reputation and support from the Israeli public.
  2. Political survival in a changing political landscape:: Israel’s political climate is constantly evolving, and Netanyahu must adapt to maintain his position. A successful peace process could bring new opportunities for diplomatic initiatives, while a failure could lead to increased pressure and potential political challenges.

Israel may soon draft ultra-Orthodox Jews. What does it mean for the war and Netanyahu?

VI. Conclusion

Summary of the key points and implications for Israel, the military, and Netanyahu

The integration of Ultra-Orthodox Jews into the Israeli military has been a contentious issue for decades. This article discussed the recent proposed legislation, which seeks to draft these individuals into the military or face financial penalties. The key points of this debate revolve around three main areas: Israel’s military readiness and societal cohesion, political stability and diplomatic relations, and implications for Netanyahu’s leadership and legacy.

Israel’s military readiness and societal cohesion

The Ultra-Orthodox community represents a significant portion of the Israeli population, yet their exemption from military service has been a source of tension. Critics argue that this exclusion undermines military readiness and societal cohesion, as it creates a divide between those who serve and those who do not. Proponents of the draft argue that it is necessary to maintain Israel’s military strength and ensure equality among citizens.

Political stability and diplomatic relations

The drafting of Ultra-Orthodox Jews could have far-reaching implications for political stability and diplomatic relations. On the one hand, it could lead to increased tensions within Israeli society and potentially even violence. On the other hand, it could help to promote greater inclusion and reduce social fragmentation. Furthermore, Israel’s diplomatic relations with other countries, particularly those with significant Ultra-Orthodox populations, could be affected by the draft.

Implications for Netanyahu’s leadership and legacy

Netanyahu’s stance on this issue has been inconsistent, reflecting the political complexity of the situation. In the past, he has supported exemptions for Ultra-Orthodox Jews, but more recently, he has expressed support for drafting them. The outcome of this legislation could have significant implications for Netanyahu’s leadership and legacy. If successful, it could enhance his reputation as a leader who prioritizes the needs of the military and Israeli society over political considerations. However, if unsuccessful, it could damage his image and undermine his ability to govern effectively.

Future outlook: Possible scenarios and potential outcomes of drafting Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel

The future of the proposed legislation remains uncertain, with several possible scenarios and potential outcomes. If the draft is passed into law, it could lead to increased tensions within Israeli society, particularly if there are incidents of violence or protests. Alternatively, it could result in a more inclusive and cohesive society, as Ultra-Orthodox Jews become integrated into the military and other aspects of Israeli life.

Military readiness and societal cohesion

One potential outcome is that the draft could improve military readiness and societal cohesion. By reducing the number of exemptions, the Israeli military would have access to a larger pool of potential recruits. This could lead to increased efficiency and better preparedness for potential conflicts. Additionally, the draft could help to bridge the divide between Ultra-Orthodox and other communities in Israel, promoting greater understanding and respect among citizens.

Political stability and diplomatic relations

Another possible outcome is that the draft could lead to political instability and strained diplomatic relations. If there are incidents of violence or protests, it could fuel tensions within Israeli society and potentially lead to unrest. Additionally, other countries with significant Ultra-Orthodox populations, such as the United States and Canada, could react negatively to the draft and potentially withdraw support for Israel.

Implications for Netanyahu’s leadership and legacy

The outcome of the draft could also have significant implications for Netanyahu’s leadership and legacy. If successful, it could enhance his reputation as a strong and effective leader who prioritized the needs of the military and Israeli society over political considerations. However, if unsuccessful, it could damage his image and undermine his ability to govern effectively. Additionally, if there are incidents of violence or protests, Netanyahu could be criticized for pushing through a controversial and divisive policy.