IDF soldiers in Samaria
IDF soldiers in SamariaIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Decades after they were taken away, some preferential rights will be restored to discharged IDF soldiers, as well to individuals who have completed National Service programs. The law will provide preference in hiring at government jobs for ex-soldiers, as well as bonuses for service and other benefits.

The law to restore rights was approved Sunday by the Ministerial Law Committee and will be supported by the coalition when it comes up for a Knesset vote. The law states that the benefits to be conferred on those who served their country “will not be seen as discriminatory against those not eligible for these benefits.” In the late 1970s, a law that conferred benefits such as child allowances only on individuals who served in the IDF, or had family members who did, was struck down as discriminatory by the High Court. As a result, Arab families with large numbers of children began receiving the benefits as well.

The new law will not increase child allowance payments to ex-soldiers, nor will it remove them from non-IDF serving Arabs. However, ex-soldiers will get other important benefits, such as preference in admission to higher education programs, preference in university dormitory arrangements, and preference in lotteries or auctions of state lands in building projects.

Passage of a similar law was prevented last year by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as a result of an opinion by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon that the law could be challenged in the High Court as discriminatory. The law will be prepared for a Knesset vote by several committees, and will probably come up for a vote in the Knesset's winter session.