After the Israeli Supreme Court canceled the ultra-Orthodox amendment to the Equal Service law, the chairmen of the ultra-Orthodox parties held an emergency meeting today and expressed their frustration over the court ruling, which called the amendment unconstitutional.
Emergency meeting of ultra-Orthodox parties today Photo Credit: Channel 2 News
A day after the Israeli Supreme Court approved an appeal against the ultra-Orthodox draft bill and instructed to cancel it within a year, the leaders of the ultra-Orthodox political parties held a joint emergency conference today to discuss the ruling.
The draft bill was legislated by Israel’s ultra-Orthodox parties in 2015 and amended the Equal Service law, thus protecting young ultra-Orthodox men who avoided the mandatory IDF draft from legal repercussions. The Supreme Court ruled the legislation unconstitutional since it does not lead to a fair “division of burden” of military service and is harmful to equality.
“There is a mass of intervention here, the court is changing the status quo,” said ultra-Orthodox Shas chairman and Israeli Minister of Interior Arie Deri. “This is an ethical worldview issue and this is the reason the public chooses public representatives. It can’t be that the Supreme Court judges according to its worldview. Somebody is managing us. We are working for the judges of the Supreme Court and this can’t be so. Someone got confused here. They decided to replace the government.”
Ultra-Orthodox demonstration against mandatory military service Photo Credit: Hiller Meir/TPS/Channel 2 News
Deri stressed that the this is not only an ultra-Orthodox problem, but a whole Knesset problem. “We have a coalition agreement, and everyone who is in the coalition is bounded by it, including [Moshe] Kahlon and [Avigdor] Liberman.” Israeli Health Minister and ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman also addressed the Supreme Court’s decision and said that the ultra-Orthodox MKs intend to legislate a new law and include an overruling paragraph,” which will prevent it from being canceled by the judicial system.
United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni said that an argument has existed between the Knesset and the Supreme Court since 2002. “No one there at the Supreme Court understands the importance of the world of the Torah,” claimed Gafni. “No one, including Judge Rubenstein [Vice President of the Supreme Court of Israel], understands what Torah learners are. We will fix this law and the argument between us and the Supreme Court can’t continue any longer.”