Haredi draft bill passes first Knesset reading

TEL AVIV (JTA) — A bill including haredi Orthodox Jews in Israel’s mandatory draft passed its first reading in the Knesset over the protests of haredi lawmakers.

After a marathon legislative session that began Monday night, the bill passed in a 64-21 vote. Most of the Likud-led governing coalition voted for the measure, as did members of the opposition Labor Party.

Before it becomes law, the bill will be sent back to a Knesset committee and go through second and third readings on the Knesset floor.

Under the bill, haredi men would be drafted in increasing numbers until 2017, when a vast majority of haredi men would serve in the military or national civilian service.

Haredi Knesset members exited the Knesset floor en masse during a speech by Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, who led a committee that drafted the bill.

During the proceedings, haredi United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush chained himself to the Knesset microphone stand, according to the Times of Israel.

Once outside of the Knesset floor, haredi Knesset members recited psalms, and one blew a shofar.

 

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