Families of Israeli soldiers in Gaza call on their sons to ‘put down weapons’

Families of hundreds of Israeli soldiers fighting in the Gaza Strip have urged their sons to put down their weapons and return home immediately.

“We are letting our fighting children know they must stop the fighting right now, put down their weapons and return home immediately,” the families said in an open letter addressed to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and army Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi.

The families added they no longer support the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

They also criticized Monday’s Knesset decision to approve a bill exempting Ultra-Orthodox men from serving in the military.

“It is unthinkable that a law like this would pass while the brave soldiers are giving their lives,” they stated in the letter.

The bill passed with 63 votes in favor in the 120-seat Knesset. It will now move to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in preparation for the bill’s second and third readings before becoming law.

The bill, if approved, would lower the age of mandatory service for Ultra-Orthodox Jews from 26 to 21, and “very slowly” increase the rate of their conscription in the army.

Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

Nearly 37,200 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 84,800 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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