Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at a party event, September 13, 2017.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Every young man who reaches the age of 18 must serve in the IDF or sign up for national service, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday, opening up the possibility for a rift within the governing coalition.
Liberman was referring to a High Court of Justice ruling that annulled the arrangement allowing yeshiva students not to enlist in the army, saying that "there is no more class A and class B."
"The most important parameter that guides us is the same parameter called national strength. On this point, many people do not agree and are not acting to achieve that goal, which is more important than weaponry or economy.
Lieberman intends to impose sanctions on conscientious objectors, he said.
"We have no intention of imprisoning anyone," he said, "and if we want to be effective and efficient, we have to do it wisely, but I can register each of them with a criminal record, and I can demand that the state not subsidize any of them. Not a university or a yeshiva that accepts draft-dodgers."
"Jews served in both the red army and the British army and we were always loyal to the country in which we lived. I don't understand why a haredi man cannot serve in the army. If not in the army, then national service. The same applies for a Muslim or a Catholic."