ISRAEL: Exemption for the Pious

A law to aid religious women, and perhaps draft dodgers too

A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man .. .for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

—Deuteronomy 22:5

That ancient biblical injunction returned to haunt Premier Menachem Begin last week. Only a last-minute compromise between religious conviction and military necessity appears to have saved Begin's coalition government from its gravest domestic crisis in 13 months of rule. The issue: Israeli women in uniform.

The Premier's troubles began when he agreed to a request by the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel Party to amend Israel's...

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