Israeli parliament votes for bill to exempt ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from military service

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-14 06:26:59|Editor: yan
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JERUSALEM, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Israel's parliament voted Wednesday in favor a controversial bill to exempt ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from military service, ending a political crisis threatened to prompt early elections.

The parliament, or the Knesset, voted 59-38 in favor of the bill in preliminary reading. The bill still needs to be approved in three more readings before it becomes a law.

The vote was held after the government reached a compromise deal, giving coalition members freedom to vote as they want on the contested bill that would give ultra-Orthodox seminary students exemption from military conscription.

The deal followed days in which a political crisis loomed as the coalition partners could not agree on the new legislation.

The ultra-Orthodox parties demanded the bill would be approved as a condition for voting in favor of the state's budget. On the other hand, the ultra-nationalist secularist party of Yisrael Beiteinu ("Israel Our Home") refused such exemptions, charging all citizens should "share the burden."

Following the freedom of vote agreed in the deal, Yisrael Beytenu lawmakers voted against the bill.

Some of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition partners accused him of stoking the crisis in order to force snap elections that would help him survive corruption investigations.

The police have already recommended indicting Netanyahu in two bribery cases, but the attorney general is still reviewing the evidence to decide whether to charge Netanyahu.