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Anger at IDF ruling

    The Charedi leadership is refusing to consider any form of compromise over a court ruling that ended the exemption of yeshivah students from IDF service.

    Following the ruling of the High Court last week that the exemption was unconstitutional, rabbis and strictly-Orthodox politicians have laid down a clear marker that they are not prepared to allow their students to join the IDF.

    Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, one of the leading voices of the "Lithuanian" strictly-Orthodox community, published an open letter in which he referred to the court's decision as a gzeira, the term normally used for the worst anti-Jewish laws and edicts in history.

    He described their ruling as "the terrible gzeira that strikes a blow at the heart of Judaism".

    The court ruling has united the normally fractious Charedi streams. On Saturday night, representatives of the Lithuanian, Chasidic and Sephardi communities met the Knesset members of Shas and United Torah Judaism to plan a joint stand against the attempts to force the students to enlist. Both parties are members of the governing coalition, as are the Yisrael Beiteinu and Independence parties, which are demanding an end to the exemption.

    The government will almost certainly have to request an extension from the High Court and draft a new law after the elections, expected to take place in October.

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