Sunday, July 8, 2012

Israeli Identity Is at the Heart of a Debate on Service

In Jerusalem last month, ultra-Orthodox Jews protested
a court ruling that will end exemptions from military service for yeshiva students.
Lior Mizrahi/Getty Image
But the debate over these details masks a more fundamental and fractious one about evolving identity in this still-young state, where a “people’s army” has long been a defining principle, and about the growing cleavage among its tribes.

That is what has brought Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s broad unity coalition to the brink of collapse in recent days, with an Aug. 1 deadline looming to replace a law providing draft exemptions to thousands of men studying in yeshivas that the Supreme Court deemed illegal in February.  -- Jodi Rudoren, NY Times

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