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Israeli war minister admits regime’s military paying ‘high price’ in Gaza

Bodies of Israelis killed in Hamas's October 7 operation are racked for identification and processing at a military base in Ramle on October 13, 2023.

The Israeli minister of military affairs has highlighted the heavy toll the ongoing war on the Gaza Strip is inflicting on the regime’s army, while making the case for amending the conscription law to draft ultra-Orthodox Jews amid manpower shortages.

Yoav Gallant made the remarks in a televised address on Wednesday, as the occupying regime has achieved no success in its genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza for nearly the past five months.

"We are paying a very high price in our ranks...The costs we incur in terms of the numbers of deaths and injuries are very high,” he said.

Israel waged its brutal US-backed war on the besieged Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

However, 146 days into the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has failed to achieve its objectives of "destroying Hamas" and finding Israeli captives despite killing nearly 30,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring more than 70,300 others.

Gallant said Israel’s “security challenges demonstrate that everyone must bear the burden [of service]. All parts of society.”

“To attain the goals of the war, to handle the threats from Gaza, from Lebanon, from [the West Bank], and to prepare for the emerging threats from the east, we need unity and partnership in decisions about our future,” he added.

The Israeli minister also said that the “burden of service” has been a challenge for the past decades, thus requiring “agreements and decisions, which we haven’t made in 75 years.”

Recently, the Israeli military has proposed changes to the army draft law as it prepares for a protracted war in the Gaza Strip.

The amendments include raising terms for male mandatory army service and female soldiers in combat and other special roles to three years. Currently, men serve for two years and eight months and women for two years.

They further increase the age for retirement from reserve duty to 45 for regular reservists, 50 for officers and 52 for those serving in special roles. Currently, Israeli soldiers can bow out at 40, officers at 45, and those in special roles at 49.

The plan has sparked calls to end military service exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox community.

A resolution passed by the Israeli cabinet in June 2023 instructed the Israeli military not to draft ultra-Orthodox Jews until March 31, 2024, while it finds a way to comply with a court ruling that determined the community’s military service exemptions to be discriminatory and illegal.

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