Most committee members voted in favor of the bill, excluding ministers of Yesh Atid, who argued that the law would discriminate against people with disabilities who cannot serve.
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The bill, which also applies to IDF veterans with disabilities and to the families of those who were killed in the line of duty, stipulates that anyone who served in the IDF or national service will receive precedence over those who have not when it comes to State employment, real estate purchase and admission to student dorms.
The bill will next be brought before the Knesset.
"Israel is facing a constant existential struggle, in which all citizens should take part, by protecting the State and fortifying it," MK Levin said, "but a great inequality has been taking place for years regarding the burden of protecting the country and contributing to its prosperity. There are those who deliberately avoid taking part in the struggle, exhibiting disloyalty to the State and a lack of commitment to defending its existence."
Levin added that "according to the proposed law, giving precedence to someone for his or her contribution to the State will not be considered discrimination."
Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On said that by approving the bill, the committee's "ministers have cemented racism and discrimination through legislation. The present Netanyahu government takes up where its predecessor left off by promoting racist laws that exclude minorities and underprivileged populations.
"On the one hand, the State insists it aims to assist Arabs and haredim integrate in the job market, but on the other hand it passes laws that aim to continue the exclusion," Gal-On added.
Following Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's remarks that the bill would lead to discrimination, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni announced her intention to appeal the bill, asserting that "It's important to reward veterans of the IDF and national service, but it must be done in constitutional ways."
Aviel Magnezi contributed to this report
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