Haredi draft bill passes first reading

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Over the protests of haredi lawmakers, a bill that includes haredi Orthodox Jews in Israel’s mandatory draft passed its first reading in the Knesset.

After a marathon legislative session, the bill passed July 23 in a 64-21 vote. Before it becomes law, the bill will be sent back to a Knesset committee and go through second and third readings on the Knesset floor.

Under the bill, haredi men would be drafted in increasing numbers until 2017, when a vast majority would serve in the military or national civilian service.

Haredi Knesset members exited the parliamentary floor en masse during a speech by Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, who led a committee that drafted the bill.

During the proceedings, haredi United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush chained himself to the Knesset microphone stand, according to the Times of Israel. Once outside of the Knesset floor, haredi Knesset members recited psalms, and one blew a shofar. — jta