Israel’s Chief Rabbi: If they force us to conscript… we will leave the country

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The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yitzhak Yosef, said that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government forces us to conscript, we will all leave the country.

Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef stated, “The Levi tribe is exempt from conscription into the army and won’t be conscripted under any circumstances regardless of what happens”.

He added, “If they are forced to go to the army, we will all go abroad”.

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi indirectly criticized government officials who are considering maintaining a comprehensive exemption from military conscription for the ultra-religious community, the Haredim.

Halevi’s statements came at a time when Ministers at the Israeli War Cabinet, Yoav Gallant lined up alongside Benny Gantz, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and others, against the ultra-Orthodox parties in the coalition.

Gallant stressed that to achieve the goals of the war, and to deal with the threats coming from Gaza, Lebanon, and the West Bank, Israel needs unity and partnership in decisions related to the future.

As for Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, they linked their support for the decision to extend the period of military service with acceptance of their plan to expand conscription, with the aim of gradually increasing the number of conscripts over the next decade.

It’s noteworthy that about 66 thousand young men from the Haredim community obtained an exemption from military service during the past year, which is a record number, especially amid the state of war that Israel is experiencing, and the multiple fronts it’s dealing with.

Since 2017, successive Israeli governments have failed to reach a consensus law requiring the recruitment of religious Haredim Jews after the Supreme Court annulled the law enacted in 2015 to exempt them from military service and justified this by saying that the exemption violates the “principle of equality”.

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