Haredi MKs protest as draft bill passes first reading

(JTA) — A bill including haredi Orthodox Jews in Israel’s mandatory draft passed its first reading in Israel’s Knesset, as haredi lawmakers protested the vote.

After a marathon legislative session that began Monday night, the bill passed with a 64-21 vote. Most of the Likud-led governing coalition voted for the bill, as did members of the opposition Labor Party.

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Before it becomes law, the bill will go back to a Knesset committee, and will go through second and third readings on the Knesset floor.

Haredi MKs exited the Knesset 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 MKs recited psalms, and one blew a shofar.

The bill would draft haredim in increasing numbers until 2017, when a vast majority of haredi men would serve in the military or national civilian service.

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