The Religious Rot In Israel

Religious extremists are attacking the Israeli military from without, and from within. The Israeli armed forces have, over the last decade, spent an increasing amount of their time dealing with religious extremists. Most of the time, the enemy is some Islamic radical group, like Hamas or al Qaeda. But more and more, Jewish religious radicals have become a threat, often from within.

A big problem is draft exemptions granted to members of conservative Jewish sects. These groups have their own political parties. Because Israel has a parliamentary form of government, these small religious parties often make it possible for one of the larger parties to gain a majority in parliament, and thus form a government. But the religious parties exact a price, and one of the more unpopular ones is exemption from military service for the children of these communities. Thus while every 18 year old woman, who does not belong to a religious community, gets drafted for two years (unless she is married, or has a physical or psychological disability), no 18 year old women in the religious communities are conscripted. It’s nearly as bad for the young men, although some 18 year old men from religious communities volunteer. Most do not, and their absence in the military is increasingly noted.

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