The Latest | Israeli Supreme Court rules that the military must begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men

The Latest | Israeli Supreme Court rules that the military must begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men

The Latest | Israeli Supreme Court rules that the military must begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the military must begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men for military service

ByThe Associated Press

June 25, 2024, 4:35 AM

    Israel’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that the military must begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men for military service — a decision that could lead to the collapse of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition as Israel wages war in Gaza.

    Most Jewish men and women in Israel are required to serve mandatory military service at the age of 18. But the politically powerful ultra-Orthodox traditionally received exemptions if they were studying full-time in religious seminaries. These exemptions infuriated the wider general public, especially as hundreds of soldiers were killed in the war with Hamas.

    Israel and Hamas appear to be moving further apart over how the cease-fire deal plays out. Netanyahu said he will only accept a partial cease-fire deal that would not end the eight-month-long war, casting doubt on the viability of a United States-backed truce proposal. Israeli leaders are also increasingly signaling that a war with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah could be next.

    Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

    Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 37,600 people in Gaza, according to the territory's Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

    International criticism is growing over Israel’s campaign as Palestinians face widespread hunger. The war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and basic goods to Gaza, which is now totally dependent on aid. The top United Nations court has concluded there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies.

    Currently:

    — Israel's Supreme Court says ultra-Orthodox must serve in the military.

    — Netanyahu says he won’t agree to a deal that ends the war in Gaza, testing the latest truce proposal.

    — Experts say Gaza is at high risk of famine despite increased aid to the north.

    — Iranian presidential candidates debate foreign policy ahead of Friday vote.

    — A WHO official says the U.S.-built pier in Gaza not sufficient in delivering aid to Palestinians.

    — Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

    Here's the latest:

    JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that the military must begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men for military service, a decision that could lead to the collapse of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition as Israel continues to wage war in Gaza.

    The court ruled that, in the absence of a law that distinguishes between Jewish seminary students and other draftees, Israel’s compulsory military service system applies to the ultra-Orthodox like any other citizens.

    Under longstanding arrangements, ultra-Orthodox men have been exempt from the draft, which is compulsory for most Jewish men and women. These exemptions have long been a source of anger among the secular public, a divide that has widened during the war.

    Politically powerful ultra-Orthodox parties, key partners in Netanyahu’s governing coalition, oppose any change in the current system. If the exemptions are ended, they could bolt the coalition, causing the government to collapse and leading to new elections.

    The court decision comes at a sensitive time, as the war in Gaza drags on into its ninth month and the number of dead soldiers continues to mount.

    CAIRO — Israeli strikes on Gaza City early Tuesday killed at least 14 people, including three women and five children, officials in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said.

    The strikes hit two schools-turned-shelters and a residential home, according to the Hamas-run Civil Defense, a rescue body that is often the first to respond after airstrikes.

    The Israeli military said Hamas militants were operating inside the school compounds, accusing them of planning attacks against Israel and being involved in holding hostages taken from Israel.

    A strike on the Abdel-Fattah Hamoud school in the Daraj neighborhood killed at least seven people from the same family, including five children and their parents, the Civil Defense said. An 18-month-old was among the dead, according to the Civil Defense. The group said a second strike hit the Asmaa school in the Shati camp, killing at least five people. The third strike hit a family house in the Shijaiyah neighborhood, killing two women, the civil defense said.

    Israel has escalated its air raids on Gaza City over the past week, killing dozens of people as Israeli ground forces continue battling Palestinian militants in the southern city of Rafah.

    Israel launched its air and ground invasion of Gaza immediately after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which killed some 1,200 people and took about 250 others hostage. The Israeli offensive has killed over 37,000 Palestinians and unleashed a humanitarian crisis.

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