IDF troops 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
National Service participants may be one small step closer to enjoying the same rights held by IDF enlistees following a Tuesday morning meeting of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women.
Representatives from a number of organizations emphasized that there was a significant gap between the rights enjoyed by those serving in the IDF and those participating in National Service, a voluntary program for young Israelis who wish to serve their country, but who feel that military duty is not the right framework for them. Unlike IDF soldiers, National Service participants are not entitled to dental care or social services during their participation in the program, and are frequently denied discounted prices and admission fees offered to soldiers.
Representatives of National Service participants also complained about a “significant gap” in childbirth benefits between women in National Service and IDF personnel. According to the current National Insurance Law, the level of childbirth subsidy is dependent on how long the mother was employed prior to the birth and the National Insurance Institute payments made by her employer on her behalf.
According to an agreement between the NII and the Defense Ministry, a
woman who has yet to accumulate enough NII payments in her current job
can apply her IDF service to the period, with the Defense Ministry
filling in the missing payments. National Service, however, is not
counted toward employment.
The committee decided to ask Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, when he
returns from his current visit to China, to provide funding to
subsidize an agreement between the National Service Authority and the
NII that would match the agreement between the Defense Ministry and the
“The time has come to provide a legislative basis for National
Service,” said Committee for the Advancement of Women chairwoman MK
Tzipi Hotovely (Likud). “National Service must receive the societal
respect to which it is entitled and that can only be achieved by making
the rights of those who do National Service equal to the rights of
those who enlist in the security services. My committee will act to
regulate the law, and also to ensure equal rights as soon as possible.”
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