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Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest military draft

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 00:48

May 17 - Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gather outside the Jerusalem military draft office to protest against plans to enlist men from their community into the military. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested in Jerusalem on Thursday (May 16) against plans to enlist men from their community into the military, saying that they would refuse to serve. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government has committed to increase drafting ultra-Orthodox men, most of whom receive exemptions on religious grounds, in order to share the national burden and reduce pressure on the middle classes. The party of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Netanyahu's main coalition partner, received wide support at the polls in January on a ticket of a more even share of commitments to the state such as military service and paying taxes. Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up some 10 percent of a population of 8 million. They do not work, receive military service exemptions and rely heavily on state subsidies for their religious studies and their large families. Israeli police said that approximately 10,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews attended the protest, while local media reported higher estimates. Most Israeli men and women are called up for military service for up to three years when they turn 18. However, exceptions are made for most Arab citizens of Israel, as well as ultra-Orthodox men and women. About 60 percent of ultra-Orthodox men engage in full-time Jewish religious studies, keeping them out of the labour market. The issue of drafting ultra-Orthodox men into the military is one of a number of issues in a long struggle between a secular majority and an ultra-Orthodox minority over lifestyle in the Jewish state.

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest military draft

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 00:48