Rivlin: We must reassess enlisting kids of the bereaved

Following death of Assaf Ramon Knesset chairman says process of enlisting children from bereaved families to be reconsidered.

rivlin serious 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
rivlin serious 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
During a meeting held with families who have lost loved ones while serving in the security forces, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Tuesday that the Knesset would reconsider allowing children of bereaved families to volunteer for military service. Rivlin said that in light of the death of Capt. Assaf Ramon in a training accident Sunday he believes the Knesset must hold a discussion soon concerning the process of enlisting children from bereaved families. Ramon, the eldest son of astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed when the space shuttle Columbia exploded, volunteered for combat service despite the exemption granted under law to children of bereaved families. "The Ramon family's tragedy once again brought up the dilemma of whether or not to place the heavy responsibility upon the bereaved family itself or to place it in the hands of the children," said Rivlin. "The War of Independence never brought up such dilemmas because there was simply no alternative. But at this point, it will continue to come up every time we must live by our swords and defend ourselves." Rivlin met on Tuesday afternoon with a group of bereaved families who were visiting the Knesset, saying "democracy in Israel has grown and developed in large part as a result of your personal losses." Rivlin said it was only natural that the Knesset feel an obligation to discuss the "difficult question of responsibility of bereaved parents to allow the enlistment of an additional son," adding that "the families' voice must prevail in determining this question." "Immediately upon opening the Knesset session [we] must not only probe this dilemma but also come to some sort of a conclusion." MK Nahman Shai (Kadima) will likely be an ally in this push, as he expressed interest Monday in putting the same issue up for debate.