Cabinet Approves Plan to Lower the Age for Exemption from IDF Service to 21
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
The Cabinet, today (Sunday, 22 August 2021), approved the proposal of Prime
Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Finance Minister
Avigdor Liberman to lower the age for exemption from IDF service for young
men from ultra-orthodox sector to 21.
Following are the main points of the plan:
* The exemption age will drop immediately to 21, for the next two years.
* After 24 months, the exemption age will be raised to 22; 12 months later,
the exemption age will be raised to 23.
* At the same time, even when the exemption age will be raised to 22 and to
23, ultra-orthodox young men will be able to be released from compulsory IDF
service at age 21 provided that they join the labor market by undergoing
professional training or training for security, emergency or rescue
A team will also be established composed of representatives of the Prime
Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister, which will be responsible
for evaluating tracks for IDF service and national and civilian service, and
to formulate a new, wide-ranging and updated plan that meets security,
economic and social needs in Israel. The team will present its conclusions
by November 2022.
The plan for lowering the exemption age will take effect upon completion of
the legislative process in the Knesset. The ministerial committee on
legislation has been authorized to deal with the issue.
Prime Minister Bennett:
"For decades the State of Israel has consistently chosen to cut off its nose
to spite its face, i.e. out of anger over ultra-orthodox who do not serve
[in the IDF], they were also compelled not to join the labor market until
they were older. Today, we are putting a stop to this and opening the labor
and employment markets to ultra-orthodox young men. We are removing the
impediments and allowing freedom of choice for many thousands of
ultra-orthodox young men, without coercion and without tanks in Bnei Brak.
This is the long and correct road on behalf of the national interest.
Integrating the ultra-orthodox sector into the employment market is a goal
of the highest order, for all of us. I am personally moved; this is a
historic move for the future of Israel."