Knesset trying to bring National Service benefits up to par

There is a gap between the rights of those serving in the IDF and those in National Service.

IDF troops 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
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, awoman who has yet to accumulate enough NII payments in her current jobcan apply her IDF service to the period, with the Defense Ministryfilling in the missing payments. National Service, however, is notcounted toward employment.
The committee decided to ask Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, when hereturns from his current visit to China, to provide funding tosubsidize an agreement between the National Service Authority and theNII that would match the agreement between the Defense Ministry and theNII.
“The time has come to provide a legislative basis for NationalService,” said Committee for the Advancement of Women chairwoman MKTzipi Hotovely (Likud). “National Service must receive the societalrespect to which it is entitled and that can only be achieved by makingthe rights of those who do National Service equal to the rights ofthose who enlist in the security services. My committee will act toregulate the law, and also to ensure equal rights as soon as possible.”