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Agudat Yisrael Attacks Letter to Shamir from Reserve Officers

High-ranking Israel Defense Force reservists who urged Premier Yitzhak Shamir not to form a government with the religious parties were attacked Friday by the Agudat Yisrael newspaper Hamodia.

It accused them of a “military revolt intended to force the hand of Shamir.”

The delegation of 38 officers, ranging in rank from colonel through major general, handed Shamir a letter Wednesday expressing surprise and indignation over his plans to establish a narrow coalition government with ultra-Orthodox parties that oppose military duty for yeshiva students or actively support their exemption.

According to the reserve officers, the ultra-Orthodox position is unfair to the scores of thousands of military-age youngsters called up each year, who make heavy personal sacrifices for the national good.

The Mapam newspaper A1 Hamishmar reported Sunday that according to the IDF, only 3 percent of all yeshiva students who get deferrals in any given year do some sort of national service and of them, only 1 percent do military duty.

Hamodia charged that “the officers’ letter is nothing short of military intervention in the forming of the new government.”

It alleged that “the use of officers in a political issue comes across as a kind of military revolt intended to force the hand of Shamir, who according to the law and democracy has been entrusted with the task of forming a government as he sees fit.”

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