Israel to discuss military draft reform proposal

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JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli committee has handed the government its proposal for ending a system granting Jewish ultra-Orthodox seminary students automatic exemptions from military service.

These exemptions have generated widespread resentment in a country where military service is compulsory for Jewish citizens. Public anger over the exemptions was a central issue in January elections and helped propel the centrist Yesh Atid party to a strong showing.

The party promised to end the preferential treatment given to the seminary students. But the committee's proposal, led by Yesh Atid Cabinet Minister Yaakov Peri, is full of compromises.

It says religious students do not have to begin serving until age 21, instead of 18, and the new system won't go into effect for three years.

The Cabinet is to discuss the proposal on Sunday.

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