Knesset passes bill to compel ultra Orthodox Jews' military service
Israel's Knesset voted Wednesday to compel ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military, according to Agence France Presse.
Israeli MPs passed the bill 65 to 1, with only one MP from the far-right Jewish Home party opposing the legislation. The remaining MPs from the 120-seat parliament earlier announced that they would boycott the vote.
The new law now requires that ultra-Orthodox males must "either join the army or perform civilian service," but the law will not go into force until 2017. The legislation is supposed to prevent the occurrence of "draft dodgers" by calling for imprisonment as punishment if individuals fail to enlist as required under law.
Military service is compulsory for all Israelis, with men required to serve three years and women required to serve two. However, before Wednesday's law was passed, ultra-Orthodox Jews were exempted from serving if they were enrolled full-time study at a Jewish seminary.
More than 300,000 ultra-Orthodox Israelis protested the bill earlier this month in a mass prayer vigil.
The ultra-Orthodox community, which was only a small faction of Israel's population in 1948, now represents nearly 10 percent of Israel's population that is just over eight million.