From the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, service in the military has been a politicised issue. Given the country's small size and population, the state has relied on conscription to maintain its military capacity.
When the policy was first implemented, exceptions were made for Arabs. Then an arrangement was arrived at by which ultra-Orthodox Jews were exempt from service if they were enrolled in religious study. There were also occasional examples of people refusing to serve on pacifist grounds, such as the lawyer Amnon Zichroni in the 1950s.