Teenage conscripts in Israel will now have the option to volunteer for a gay national service scheme instead of military service.
The initiative will be available to anyone granted exemption from the Israeli Defense Forces. They will be able to complete their service through the Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexuals and Transgenders in Israel (Aguda).
This scheme was made possible through an agreement signed between Aguda representatives and the Shlomit Association, which helps girls that were discharged from the army but want to volunteer for national service.
Teenagers who sign up to the group will spend their national service assisting the gay and lesbian community to enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by volunteers in other communities.
“It is a breakthrough in relations between the institutions and the community,” Aguda CEO Gil Feldstein told Israeli website Ynet. “We are happy to be another yet again in the frontline 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 head of Go Gay, an Israeli organisation for gay youth, Yaniv Weisman, 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.”