'Draft dodgers would lose right to vote'

MK Amira Dotan's national service bill also includes haredim and Arabs.

By ELIE LESHEM
August 1, 2007 16:15
1 minute read.
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The renewed debate over the increasing draft-dodging among the nation's youth has sparked a legislative initiative that would mandate national service for all Israelis. According to the proposed law, which would also apply to Arabs and Haredim, those who opt not to serve their country would lose the right to vote and to receive welfare from the state. Within the framework of national service, conscripts could work with organizations such as Magen David Adom and the ZAKA rescue and recovery organization, or fulfill tasks on the home front. The initiative is being championed by former OC Women's Corp Brig.-Gen. (res.) and MK Amira Dotan of Kadima. "I am in favor of compulsory service for everybody for the same amount of time," Dotan said on Tuesday. "Whether it is in the IDF or in National Service, you have to do your share of duty to the country for two full years." "This legislation addresses our needs as a state," Dotan's spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. "We wish to spark a public debate about rights and duties." The spokesman said there would be no exceptions or exemptions under the bill. Every sector of society could provide conscripts with posts that would suit the needs of that community he said. For example, Arabs could help at education institutions. Asked if the bill might "institutionalize draft-dodging" by creating a socially-accepted alternative to serving in the IDF, the spokesman demurred, saying "Draft evasion [among Israelis who are not Haredim or Arabs] has been and always will be present." He hinted that the proposed legislation might achieve the opposite by providing those who previously were able to evade the draft without significant consequences with an additional, more pressing incentive to serve. "There will be those who will say: 'I don't want to volunteer in a hospital - I want to serve in the military,'" he said. "The army has its own parameters to decide who is fit to serve and people will be redirected to national service according to those parameters," the spokesman told the Post.

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