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Israeli teens can
choose between military and gay rights groups

Israeli teens can
choose between military and gay rights groups

Israeli teenagers opting not to serve in the military now can serve the gay community instead.

Israeli teenagers are required to serve in the nation's military. But they can seek an exemption for various reasons and sign up for a national service agency instead, a popular option for among women in the religious population.

Now those seeking the exemption can volunteer for national service through the Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders in Israel (Aguda), reports the news Web site Ynet. The special volunteering scheme has been made possible through an agreement signed between Aguda representatives and the Shlomit Association, which helps girls who were discharged from the army but want to volunteer for national service.

"It is a breakthrough in relations between the institutions and the community," Aguda CEO Gil Feldstein said. "We are happy to be yet again in the front line 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."

The agreement between the Aguda and Shlomit was signed after years of attempts by the Aguda to receive official recognition that would allow it to recruit volunteers. Yaniv Weisman, head of Go Gay, an organization for gay youths, 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. (

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