Barak Gives Army Two Months to Integrate Orthodox Jews
Prime Minister Ehud Barak has given Israel's army two months to prepare ways to integrate Orthodox Jews, his office announced Sunday.
Barak's directive follows an order by Israel's supreme court to the parliament to authorize the conscription of the ultra-Orthodox, who since the 1950s have been exempt from military service.
In an arrangement that has infuriated many secular Israelis, some 3,000 Orthodox Jews each year avoid military service to study at Talmudic schools.
Israeli men are required to spend three years in the military, while women must serve for 19 months. Men must also attend periodic one-month training sessions until age 49.
A commission appointed by Barak and chaired by former Supreme Court justice Tzvi Tal had proposed that Orthodox Jews be able to volunteer in the military for a limited four-month period.
Barak, in a statement from his office, said he had named the minister for Jewish diaspora affairs, Rabbi Michael Melchior, as the head of a team charged with examining the Tal commission's recommendations -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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