MK Itzik Shmuli
MK Itzik ShmuliIsrael news photo: Flash 90

One of the Labor party’s new Members of Knesset was called away this week for tank duty. MK Itzik Shmuli missed his planned first speech in Knesset to go serve.

“I was already counting down to my first speech in Knesset,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

His commander told him, “You may be a Member of Knesset, but we still need you here,” Shmuli related. He added, “When they call us to reserves duty we always go, we don’t ask questions.”

Shmuli noted the connection to the latest hot debate in Knesset: the subject of hareidi-religious army service. “Right now everyone suddenly remembered the issue of equal burden of military service,” he said.

“I just hope that in another few months the state will still be there for those who were always, and will always, be there for it – my friends,” he added.

The Labor party, along with many others, is calling for all non-Arab Israeli men to be required to serve in the IDF. Previously young men could choose to study Torah full-time for several years rather than serve in the army, and the vast majority of hareidi-religious men preferred that option.

Itzik Shmuli was formerly the head of the national Student Union. He took an active role in encouraging and organizing the social justice and cost of living protests in the summer of 2011 and again in 2012.