Bill would wipe clean criminal record of combat soldiers

Combat soldiers, who had a criminal past prior to joining the army, will be given a "second chance" as part of rehabilitation.

IDF soldier Golan 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
IDF soldier Golan 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Combat soldiers with a criminal past will be given a “second chance,” according to a bill approved by the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.
The bill, initiated by MK Orly Levy-Abecassis (Likud Beytenu), who is the chairwoman of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, would allow at-risk youth who underwent rehabilitation during their military service and were recruited into combat positions to have their criminal record wiped clean.
Levy-Abecassis explained that when these soldiers complete their military service and go into the workforce, they encounter difficulties in terms of finding jobs.
Their past “stain,” she said, prevents them from working as security personnel or in any other position that would require carrying a gun, jobs that many combat soldiers seek after the army.
The chairwoman said the proposed law will “end the paradox and injustice toward people who served as fighters and carried weapons and who after their service cannot work with one, even though they are called up for reserve duty and use arms at that same time.”
“The bill sends a message to those at-risk youth that their future is not doomed and that society will not impose on them an everlasting ‘mark of Cain’ for what they did when they were kids from difficult socioeconomic backgrounds,” she added. “It gives them hope that whoever really wants to change the course of his life can be given a second chance to do so.”
The idea for the draft law came after Levy-Abecassis received an appeal from a combat soldier and former atrisk teenager who had been denied a permit to carry a civilian weapon due to his criminal record.
The soldier argued that he had turned his life around, served as a paratrooper and even volunteered in an NGO helping at-risk youth.
He was killed in a car accident shortly after, and received a posthumous pardon from President Shimon Peres.