Knesset Speaker: One Cannot Legislate Sharing the Burden by Force


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idffIn his remarks at a state Independence Day event on Monday night, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein addressed the new draft law, speaking out harshly against it. Edelstein stated “I was born in a country that advocated change from the top, imposing daily life while crushing the decision of conscience, political opposition and reeducation.”

He added “In Israel I learned that even if accomplished by democratic means, seeking to compel change has limited power and a law, even if passed by a majority, will not always succeed in creating change in society”.

The speaker continued, citing the “hypocrisy of the government which concerns itself with chareidim” when in actuality, it does not lift a finger regarding the ongoing discrimination when they try to get a job in a government office. He stated “we cannot pass laws pertaining to sharing the burden while locking the door from inside against a chareidi applicant”.

Edelstein then addressed the priority program of the prime minister, bringing periphery communities closer to central Israel by improving highways and railways. “Highways and railways shorten the ride from Dimona to Kiryat Shmona but they do nothing to bring hearts closer together. We mustn’t permit the continuation of those who are entitled alongside those forgotten by the social economic gap that exists”.

“Nothing will assist the periphery communities for as long as they are not moved to the center of our hearts and concern. We must not permit a second Israel to exist alongside the first Israel. We do not have the privilege of running two countries for we are one nation.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. From a real politik perspective, it is in Likud’s interest for “push not come to shove” over conscription or over relations between the hareidim and the nationalists.

    However it will be hard to exempt hareidim out right, or to classify learning as national service. However they could recognize conscientious objection, or could professionalize the army.

  2. Netanyahu is no fool, and this might be a trial balloon. Remember that if the hareidim ally with the left wing parties (agreeing to end conscription in return for a blank check on foreign policy), Likud will be the big loser. A left wing coalition including hareidim and Arabs would be a serious threat to the right-center coalition that has dominated the Israeli politics since 1977.