Israeli Supreme Court Overturns Ultra-Orthodox Military Exemption Law [View all]
REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM -- Israel’s Supreme Court has dropped a political hot potato on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plate by overturning a law that had effectively exempted tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox religious students from mandatory military service.
The decision could force Netanyahu’s conservative coalition government -- which includes leading religious party Shas -- to tackle one of thorniest issues dividing Israel’s religious and secular communities.
The court ruled that the current law must expire by August, and some predict the debate could become so divisive, it might tear apart Netanyahu’s coalition or trigger early elections.
Only a fraction of ultra-Orthodox students join the army. Currently, nearly 70,000 have been exempted under the law, according to military figures.