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Israeli draft loophole could force Orthodox Jews into service

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A controversial Israeli law which allowed ultra-Orthodox Jews to defer military service, is to expire on Tuesday, leaving a legislative hole which could technically see them called up en masse.

When the 2002 Tal Law expires at midnight, conscription will be guided by previous legislation, meaning that all 18-year-old Israelis, including the ultra-Orthodox, will be compelled to enlist – unless they are specifically exempted by the defense ministry.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was to release a statement on the issue later on Tuesday, giving the military fresh orders in light of the expiry of the law.

In February, Israel’s High Court ruled that the Tal Law was unconstitutional and must be rewritten, prompting calls for a fairer system which would impose conscription or some other form of national service on the ultra-Orthodox as well as on Israel’s Arab minority.

But the question of how to reword the law has sparked deep divisions in the right-wing coalition of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which failed to push through new legislation before the parliament broke up for its summer recess.

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The center-right Kadima party pulled out of Netanyahu’s ruling coalition two weeks ago, just 70 days after joining it, saying that his draft legislation did not go far enough.

Party leader Shaul Mofaz said he was pulling out over Netanyahu’s refusal to accept the conclusions of a committee headed by Kadima MP Yohanan Plessner.

The departure of the 28-seat party, the largest in the 12-seat parliament, reduced Netanyahu’s overwhelming majority of 94 to 66 MPs.

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Israel’s Arab youth have traditionally been exempted from military or national service by means of an unwritten Israeli policy.

But when parliament reconvenes in October after its summer break, attempts to push through fresh legislation compelling both Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox to complete some form of service, are likely to begin again in earnest.

[image via Agence France-Presse]


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White nationalism is ‘the greatest threat to American democracy’: Fascism expert

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," The Atlantic staff writer and fascism expert Adam Serwer laid out in grim terms the stakes of President Donald Trump's incitement of racist anger against Democratic congresswomen of color.

"From the beginning, we have been haunted by this question: Is America a white man’s republic or a nation for all of its citizens?" said Serwer. "Throughout the last 200-some odd years, the greatest threat to American democracy has always been white nationalism, the defining of American citizenship in racial terms. It almost destroyed the country on multiple occasions. Now President Trump has drawn a line. He has now made it clear that the citizenship of American citizens who are not white is conditional and can be revoked. Quite frankly, there is lots of disagreement between the two political parties. There are lots of issues on which we differ, but this is not a question on which there can actually be disagreement. The choice is now quite clear."

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‘A failure in judgment by every single Republican leader’: Ex-GOP congressman scorches Trump’s racism

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) laid into his erstwhile party for its embrace of President Donald Trump's racial hatred and intolerance, as exemplified by the crowd of Trump rallygoers in Greenville, North Carolina chanting "Send Her Back!" of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

"It was heartbreaking," said Jolly, who renounced the Republican Party and became an independent last year. "In terms of what I felt, it was heartbreak, both last night and then to see the likes of Lindsey Graham [(R-SC)] today suggest that the only problem is Omar doesn’t wear a MAGA hat. If refugees would just wear MAGA hats, they could stay. The others deserve to go."

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2020 Election

Bernie Sanders’ staff demand to be paid the $15-an-hour minimum wage he advocates: report

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Campaign workers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are demanding an increase in pay consistent with the senator's campaign rhetoric, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

"Unionized campaign organizers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential effort are battling with its management, arguing that the compensation and treatment they are receiving does not meet the standards Sanders espouses in his rhetoric, according to internal communications," the newspaper reported.

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