Israeli court annuls law exempting religious from military

Israel's Supreme Court has struck down a 2015 law granting exemptions from military service to ultra-Orthodox men.

Tuesday's decision threatened to re-ignite tensions between Israel's politically powerful ultra-Orthodox community and the secular Jewish majority.

Military service is mandatory for most Jewish men, but the ultra-Orthodox community has won exemptions. Their leaders say they serve the nation through study and prayer. Secular Israelis say the system is unfair.

Past attempts to force religious men to enlist have triggered violent protests.

Israel's government moved to reduce exemptions and increase ultra-Orthodox military service in a 2014 law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled those reforms in 2015 after forming a new coalition with religious partners.

In Tuesday's decision, the court said the 2015 law is discriminatory and must be replaced.