Military service is a compulsory requirement of most Israelis. However Israel has historically exempted ultra-orthodox religious Jews (“Haredim”) from military service. The exemption was originally granted by Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, and was meant to apply to a few hundred religious students.
However demographics and economic realities have overtaken the exemption. The Haredim are now the fastest growing segment of Israel’s population. They make up 10% of Israel’s population, 13% of Jewish males, and 25% of primary school pupils.
60% of Haredim men are not employed in mainstream economy, and estimates claim that their exemption costs Israel $750 million every year.
Forcing the Haredim to serve is likely to cause a showdown as many of them will resist military service. Expect a compromise. I don’t see Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu getting into a fight with the Haredim.
13.5 Jews worldwide, 81% of whom live in Israel or America.
New revelations about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Newspapers have unearthed thousands of documents cataloging the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians between 1999 and 2010. Apparently the Palestinians offered far reaching concessions such as agreeing to Israel’s annexation of all but one settlements in East Jerusalem. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Israelis “we are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim [the Hebrew word for Jerusalem] in history”.
Palestinians willing to let settlers live under Palestinian rule/in future Palestinian state:
Palestinian Authority helped Israel kill Hamas members
Concessions offered by Palestinians:
Ehud Olmert’s Offer to Abu Mazen:
*Israel would annex approx 6.5% of the West Bank including the settlements of Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim.
*5000 Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to Israel.
*East Jerusalem to be divided along the “Clinton parameters”.