IDF veterans to receive extra benefits

Ministers approve bill giving IDF veterans preferred treatment; Israeli Arab advocacy groups question bill's justice.

June 16, 2013 18:36
2 minute read.
Reserve soldiers prepare to deploy in Ashkelon

Reserve soldiers prepare to deploy in Ashkelon 370. (photo credit: marc israel sellem / the jerusalem post)


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Anyone who enlisted in the IDF or did civilian service will get preferred treatment in employment, higher education, buying land and other areas, according to a bill by coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) that was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday.

“This important bill gives those who serve the appreciation they deserve,” Levin said.

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“I am determined to promote this legislation until it becomes law.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Arab advocacy groups accused the bill and the government of racism.

According to Levin’s bill, those who served the country can be preferred in hiring practices, receive higher salaries and get better services without it being considered discrimination.

In addition, those who serve will be preferred in receiving dormitory rooms in universities and in purchasing land, and there will be affirmative action for them to work in civil service positions.

“The purpose of this bill is to ensure that whoever contributes to the country will get the rights he deserves,” Levin wrote in the bill’s explanatory portion.

The coalition chairman explained that there is growing inequality in the burden of national service, and that there are groups of people who intentionally avoid serving and “show disloyalty to the country and a lack of commitment to defend its existence.”

At the same time, Levin wrote, the State of Israel “sanctified the principle of absolute equal rights,” preventing any preference of those who served the country and sacrificed for it. In addition, there are laws that favor population groups that do not serve.

“We have reached an absurd situation in which young people who do not serve in the army enter institutes of higher education at age 18, enjoy preference in dorms, and finish their degrees at age 21 and are even preferred in getting jobs. At the same time, those who serve in the IDF or national service reach university at later ages and without funds, have to rent apartments because there is no room in the dormitories and then find themselves discriminated against in finding civil service jobs,” Levin wrote.

According to Levin, his bill will bring “true, realistic equality,” in that those who fill their obligations to society will get more rights – a sentiment echoing a Yisrael Beytenu election campaign slogan.

The Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel said “the ministerial committee decided today that racism and discrimination go together with the basic values of the State of Israel.”

According to the center, the bill anchors in legislation racism that is prevalent in Israeli society.

The Abraham Fund Initiatives said that “instead of finding ways to integrate Arab citizens into the workforce and civilian service in an egalitarian way, the government made a decision that propagates their exclusion and creates alienation in the way Arab citizens see the state.”

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