Exchanging the compulsory military service for national service is popular among females in the religious sector who opt to serve Israeli society outside the military. But as of Monday, teenagers who receive an exemption from the IDF can volunteer for national service through the Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexuals and Transgenders in Israel (Aguda).
The special volunteering scheme has been made possible through an agreement signed between Aguda representatives and the Shlomit Association, which helps girls that were discharged from the army but want to volunteer for national service.
The new agreement will allow teenagers who opt to spend their national service assisting the Homosexual and lesbian community to enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by volunteers in other communities.
“It is a breakthrough in relations between the institutions and the community,” Aguda CEO Gil Feldstein said. “We are happy to be another yet again in the frontline of the struggle for social equality. The Aguda will be happy to allow teenagers to contribute to the community and the State through national service with us,” he added.
First volunteer to start Monday
The agreement between the Aguda and Shlomit was signed after years of attempts by the Aguda to receive official recognition that will allow it to recruit volunteers.
A few months ago, Aguda representatives started negotiations with Shlomit at the end of which it was decided that the Aguda meets the criterion set to allow an organization to recruit teenagers for national service.
The first volunteer at Aguda will start his service Monday at the organization’s offices in Tel Aviv.
The head of Go Gay, the organization for gay youth, Yaniv Weisman, welcomed the new agreement. “The youth organization welcomes every initiative that benefits the community and will continue to work for the gay youth community using the help of professionals who volunteered in 30 groups across Israel,” he told Ynet.