Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Commentary

Why Israel’s Supreme Court ended draft exemptions

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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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On Tuesday, June 25, Israel’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down a military draft exemption privilege for members of its ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu relies on the support of two ultra-Orthodox parties to maintain power, both of which oppose the court ruling. The court held, in essence, that these military draft exemptions are inherently unequal and that such inequality cannot be justified given the alarming possibility of an expanding two-front war against both Hamas and Hezbollah.

Watch the video above as Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan explains why we’re witnessing the end of military draft exemptions and what’s likely to come next.


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The following is an excerpt from Peter’s July 2 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

The Israeli Supreme Court just ruled that the ultra-Orthodox community will no longer get exemption from military service. This addresses a number of long-standing issues, but it could spell trouble for Netanyahu’s political career.

The ultra-Orthodox community makes up 10%-20% of the population, pays less taxes relative to their share of the population than secular Israelis, receives subsidies, has low labor participation… so until now, the rest of the population has been picking up the slack. By eliminating military exemption for the ultra-Orthodox community, that extra weight can be lifted from the remaining population.

As you would expect, the ultra-Orthodox aren’t thrilled with this decision and they’ll likely be making that known politically. Since the ultra-Orthodox parties are key supporters of Netanyahu’s coalition, don’t be surprised if we see some changes soon. This will only be amplified by criticisms of Netanyahu’s handling of the Hamas conflict and strategic incompetence.

Hey everybody Peter Zeihan here coming to you from squirts out mountain and back behind me is Argentine peak. Edwards and I think Kelso anywho, it’s 25th of June. And poof, when today we’re talking about what’s going on in Israel, the Supreme Court just ruled that the country is ultra orthodox who had been granted exemptions from serving in the military for decades, could no longer get the exemptions because it’s discriminatory, long term issue is that

 

the ultra orthodox are somewhere between 10 and 20%, of Israel’s population based on where you draw the number. And since they pay very low taxes and qualify for all kinds of subsidies and don’t serve, most of them don’t work. And so they have high very, very, very, very high birth rates, very, very low labor participation rates, and they don’t serve in the military.

 

So there is an issue that as to become a larger and larger percentage of the population, just the sheer weight of what is then dropped on the shoulders of everybody else becomes almost insurmountable. Keep in mind that there is an Arab minority in Israel, that secular not like they’re protesting, or throwing bombs or anything. But it’s a very real issue from an identity and a social management point of view.

 

There’s also a short term issue that has to do with the Netanyahu government.

 

Most of the parties that subscribe to ultra orthodox are part of Netanyahu Prime Minister Netanyahu was a governing coalition, and have been for quite some time Israel’s had a lot of governments last 20 years when since you have kind of kind of came into the person on the field. He’s definitely the longest running Prime Minister overall. Anyway.

 

What’s the best way I can put this into American terms? Think of Matt gates, you know, the guy from Florida with really good hair,

 

talks a lot of shit about the military. But it thinks that the military is a solution to everything, we should bomb this country and invade that country. But he’s never served.

 

So take blowhards who don’t really contribute to the system thinking that they know best about how to use military power. strip away the good hair and the the child sex trafficking charges.

 

And the drug charges or allegations, excuse me, and basically from a political point of view you just described for most of the ultra orthodox parties in Netanyahu was coalition. So they talk a big game, but they don’t really contribute to the solution financially or in terms of people with boots. There’s another issue, of course, and that were wind X pot.

 

And there’s also a very short term issue. After the Hamas assault on Israel back in October, Netanyahu was able to convince most of the parties in Parliament to form a unity government. Because the feeling was the attack had been on everyone. So everyone should have a say in how things unfold. Since then, Netanyahu has not shared power with unity government all that much. And so party after party has left

 

accusing Netanyahu of not having to plan for the war, accusing Netanyahu of prolonging the war for his own political purposes in order to solidify his position as prime minister and

 

accusing him and the ultra orthodox overall, just general strategic incompetence. Because this attack shouldn’t have happened. Hamas is like the one thing that the Israelis are watching every single day, it’s there shouldn’t have been no surprise attack. And here we are eight months later, and there’s no sign that the war is going to conclude. And in a number of places where Israel has supposedly already cleansed the area of Hamas fighters that popped up again. So the international condemnation from the point of view of people who have left the Israeli government is now for nothing. Because the Israelis have basically paid the price of launching a major war and being at least indirectly complicit in a lot of unpleasantness. But there’s still no sign that the war’s end is in sight. That means that

 

Netanyahu really, really needs the Orthodox to hold on to power while other parties in parliament are now actively agitating for fresh elections. We only take one significant coalition partner in India, who has coalition to force new elections, in which Netanyahu would probably not do very well. And you had throw the Supreme Court today into that mix. And you’re undoubtedly going to have at least some ortho ultra orthodox who think they might get a better deal with a different government as opposed to having to serve in the military or actually be actively involved in changing the law so that their own people have to serve in the military since they’re sitting in the government right now. When the case has been made, anyway, so significant decision changes things on the domestic and the international fronts, and that’s all I’ve got.

 

All right. I gotta cross this out.

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