Minister Benny Gantz
Minister Benny GantzPress Release

Minister Benny Gantz commented on the draft law in a special press briefing this afternoon.

“Due to our responsibility and national need, we are bringing the law of Israeli service to a vote this week, the same week in which laws regarding conscription and reserve service will be brought to a vote, which must be limited as emergency measures. We believe that a law with widespread public support will enjoy similarly bipartisan parliamentary support, and will be supported by more than 100 MKs. If we do not advance this law, along with the entire process, we cannot protect our security and societal needs long-term.”

“All parts of the society need to take part in the privilege of service. We will present the law of Israeli service in parallel with the law expanding conscript and reserve service.”

“We cannot look those who serve in the eyes and vote only on extending their service. This is not a matter for courts, rather for leaders.”

“All of Israel, including all parts of the society, must take part in the privilege of serving the state that belongs to all of us. The challenges are immense, and we cannot look those who serve in the eyes and tell them that things will be as they were. Therefore, we now once again propose the compromise of Israeli service. This compromise includes several principles, which represent national honesty. The first is that the decisive majority of young men will serve according to the needs of security and the society. The second is that the IDF will be first among equals. A unified draft office will be established and determine which service every young man or woman will perform, as well as being entrusted with giving exemptions. Those who serve longer periods and take more combat-oriented roles will receive greater compensation. Third, dozens of new tracks will be created in security services, emergency services, and recognized charities. Pilot programs that I promoted in my term as Defense Minister produced unprecedented results. Fourth, the nature of service will not change the lifestyle and faiths of any individual in service. The goal is that within a decade, the decisive majority of Israeli youth will perform conscript service.”

“To our haredi brethren: you are patriots and love this state and land. Do not wait for the law, instead proactively volunteer. Enlist now, and the legislation will be completed later. We can double the number of haredim in service and draft thousands in this year alone, and so help resolve the giant operational challenge facing us. Torah and study have had, and will have, a great part in protecting the nation of Israel, but we must also remember that the sword and scroll can go together. There will be certain geniuses who can continue learning, and many more will learn in parallel with their service.”

Gantz also addressed Israel's Arab population: “We see your solidarity. This is the time to volunteer and take part in the many organizations that will improve all of our lives. Thus, we can remove the walls of fear between us, and incorporate you better into Israeli society and benefits, of which you are an inseparable part. For this plan to succeed, everyone who serves must accept one another and act with patience in their various networks.”

Minister Gadi Eizenkot added: "The size of force needed in the next few years for routine, emergency, and wartime operations requires universal enlistment and widespread Israeli service through enlisting in the IDF, national service, and the civil service.”

“We must immediately advance the Israeli service law to expand the scope of enlistment in the haredi community, Arab community, national service, and other communities. The law we have presented is a good basis which will require the addition of clear and developing draft quotas. We have the chance to choose between a historic improvement or a historic blunder. I will end with a quote from David Ben-Gurion’s ‘The Nation and the Army’ speech of 1959: ‘Service to the nation is not temporary, rather a lifetime commitment. The end of basic service in the army is not the end of service or volunteering for the nation.”