The status of hesder yeshivot will be legislated separately from haredi yeshivot, thus removing the threat of closure following the Tal Law’s cancellation, according to a bill by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

Hesder yeshivot, religious- Zionist institutions that have combined Torah study and IDF service for the last 59 years, are included in the Tal Law, which expires on August 1. As such, both hesder and haredi yeshiva institutions fall under “Torato Omanuto” (Torah is his profession), the arrangement in which the defense minister could allow a full-time Torah student to defer army service.

As Orlev pointed out in the bill’s explanatory section, at the time of the Tal Law’s cancellation, High Court Justice Hanan Meltzer said that hesder yeshivot should not be banned.

The bill allows hesder yeshiva students to postpone IDF service for one year. It reinforces the current conditions for hesder studies, such as forbidding yeshiva students to work and requiring them to study at least 45 hours per week.

“Each year, 1,500 hesder yeshiva students enlist and contribute a lot to the IDF, and are an important, highquality reservist force,” Orlev explained. “This bill anchors the service of Zionist yeshiva students, who have a higher percentage of enlistment [than the general population], and seeks to give this blessed enterprise the legal infrastructure it needs in order to continue to exist.”

The Habayit Hayehudi MK added that he is glad hesder yeshivot are no longer being held hostage in the dispute between the government and haredim over the Tal Law, and that Zionist yeshivot, with students that serve in the IDF, must be legally separate from those who shirk their duties.

“We [religious-Zionists] consider it a privilege to enlist and serve in the IDF, and we do not want hesder yeshivot to be harmed because of a political conflict,” Orlev stated.

Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) proposed a similar bill, which has yet to reach the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

The two bills were removed from the ministerial committee’s agenda in March, at which point Rotem and Association of Hesder Yeshivot director Eitan Ozeri expressed confidence that the government would find a solution for the religious-Zionist institutions.

Orlev, however, presented a different view of the situation, warning against complacency and promising to take action.

His bill is expected to be brought to a preliminary plenum vote on Wednesday.

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