JERUSALEM (Jan. 24)
Demands to end the exemption of yeshiva students from the military draft snowballed in the Knesset (Parliament) today and were the subject of serious debate among the coalition parties, including the religious bloc. The subject was raised yesterday by the independent Liberal faction which protested that it was unfair to relieve thousands of yeshiva students from military service while tens of thousands of other Israeli youth are serving, some of them as long as three years.
The secretariat of the religious kibbutzim affiliated with the National Religious Party meanwhile supported the proposal to end the draft exemption. They pointed out that it applies almost entirely to yeshivas affiliated with the ultra-orthodox Agudat Israel while other religious students have had to interrupt their schooling to serve in the Army, many in the front lines.