Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu asking him stop a bill that gives preference to applicants for government jobs who are veterans of Israel Defense Forces service or national service.
The bill was approved last month for a preliminary reading by the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. Weinstein's letter represents a blow to Yisrael Beitenu party, which is sponsoring the bill.
In the letter, sent about a week ago and revealed by Channel 2, Weinstein wrote that the bill "creates discrimination that is hard to justify constitutionally," and that he cannot support it if it is brought before the High Court. Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon has also voiced his opposition to the bill.
Despite the fact that a week has passed since the letter was sent, Netanyahu has yet to respond to Weinstein.
The bill can be expected to discriminate against those that are in any case underrepresented in the government sector - the ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, Orthodox women, women who married before reaching the age of army service, new immigrants and people with disabilities.
According to the bill, when two candidates with equal skills apply for a job in the civil service, preference will be given to the applicant who has completed compulsory service in the IDF, Border Police, the Israel Police or other services recognized by the law on military service.
Representatives of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, women's rights groups, Ethiopian immigrants' groups and others have voiced their disapproval of the bill.
Weinstein wrote in the letter that there is no question about the importance of military service, but "this bill gives preferences to one sector of the public by allotting them limited resources such as positions in the civil service, and discriminates other sectors, namely Arabs, people with disabilities and Orthodox Jews." He added that "the principle of equality is a basic one, and the resources of the state… are resources that belong to all of its citizens."
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