israelis march to demand conscription for all
Last Updated : GMT 03:09:26
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Arab Today, arab today

Israelis march to demand conscription for all

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Israelis march to demand conscription for all

Jerusalem - AFP

Thousands of protesters rallied in Tel Aviv Saturday demanding extension of compulsory military or community service to all Israelis, including Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are currently exempted. Police estimated that \"at least 10,000\" took part, while organisers claimed three times as many. Carrying placards reading \"We\'re tired of being suckers,\" and \"One people, one draft\" the demonstrators packed into a square in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP the assembly was orderly and no incidents were reported. The universal draft issue, which has raised passions between partners in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu\'s coalition government, is to be debated by his Likud party on Sunday ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting. Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, leader of the centrist Kadima party, Likud\'s main coalition partner, had threatened to resign if the exemptions stood, but meeting Netanyahu on Thursday there were signs that a compromise could be in the works. Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who has been seeking to broker a deal, issued a statement on Saturday welcoming \"progress in the contacts\" between the two and praised their \"display of responsibility.\" Military service is compulsory for most Israelis over the age of 18, with men serving three years and women two. Ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arab Israelis are excluded under the so-called Tal Law, passed in 2002, but ruled unconstitutional in February by Israel\'s Supreme Court which ordered that it must be replaced by August 1. Ultra-Orthodox political parties oppose conscription, while the Yisrael Beitenu party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman supports a universal draft.

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