Middle East

Israel immediately needs 10,000 soldiers, says Defense Minister

Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Security Committee at the Knesset that Israel immediately needs 10,000 soldiers, and that they can recruit 4,800 ultra-orthodox Jews according to media reports on Monday.

Israeli Channel 12 said that about 900 officers of varying ranks requested consideration of the possibility of releasing them from military service contracts during the last year – such requests had not previously exceeded 150 officers.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that dozens of reserve soldiers announced that they would not return to military service in Gaza Strip, even if they were to be punished.

This comes at a time when Israeli media reported that hundreds of reserve soldiers in the Israeli army leave to abroad every month without informing their commanders, in light of the continuing war on Gaza where Israel’s forces have seen heavy losses in recent months.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in late June to impose the conscription of Haredi Jews into the army, which is facing fierce resistance in Gaza Strip and is under pressure on the southern Lebanon front.

The Israeli court also ordered a freeze on the budget of religious schools, saying that there is no legal basis on which the government exempts ultra-orthodox Jews from conscription.

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