What is the Keshev Committee?
The Keshev Committee is an acronym of the Hebrew
phrase “promoting equality in the burden.” Its mandate is to integrate haredim
(ultra- Orthodox) and Israeli Arabs in army or civilian service, and deal with
any related topics that may influence the integration, directly or
The committee must submit a report summarizing its work,
conclusions and recommendations.
In addition, it will compose a bill for
equality in the burden, and tell the government how it should implement the
proposed legislation – including budgetary implications and supervision
All this must be complete by June 28. The date will give the
Knesset time to pass the bill before July 25, when it goes on summer recess, and
before August 1, the date on which the “Tal Law” will no longer be valid,
according to the High Court of Justice ruling from earlier this year.
is on the Keshev Committee?
The Keshev Committee is comprised of members of
coalition factions, as well as public representatives. The committee list is not
yet final, and an Arab representative is expected to be added.
Committee chairman Plesner was the chairman of the Knesset
Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee to examine the Tal Law, and as such has
researched the issue of haredim in the military and proposed Kadima’s bill for
equality in the burden. Plesner is also a staunch ally of Vice Premier
and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz.
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud)
Elkin is representing his faction in the Keshev Committee. A strict
enforcer of coalition discipline, he has successfully negotiated with other
parties on complex issues in the past. Likud has not proposed a Tal Law
MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu)
Rotem is the chairman of
the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and was assigned by his
party’s chairman, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, to compose Yisrael
Beytenu’s alternative to the Tal Law.
Rotem submitted the legislation
earlier this month, which would allow for up to 1,000 of the top yeshiva
students to be exempt from service.
MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi)
Orbach is Habayit Hayehudi’s faction chairman. Though his party has not
submitted a bill to replace the Tal Law, Orbach said on Monday that he agrees
with the Keshev Committee’s goal, and hopes it will reach understandings with
haredim so they can do a significant service.
MK Einat Wilf
Wilf is the Independence faction chairwoman, and composed her
party’s alternative to the Tal Law, which emphasizes the need for the IDF and
the Defense Ministry to decide which 18 year olds are suitable for military
service, and which are not.
Prof. Yedidya Stern
Stern is the vice
president of research at the Israel Democracy Institute, a full professor at
Bar-Ilan University’s law school and its former dean. He is an expert on matters
of religion and state.
Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats
Zilbershats is deputy
president of Bar-Ilan University and a law professor. She was part of the
committee that chose Habayit Hayehudi’s list for the 18th Knesset, and was
rumored to be Liberman’s choice for ambassador to the UN.
Weinroth is a renowned attorney, who has represented Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and other ministers, and an ordained rabbi. He served
on the Tal Committee, which composed the eponymous law. Shas and United Torah
Judaism, which are boycotting the Keshev Committee, have said that while
Weinroth does not officially speak for them, they trust him to represent their
Kish is one of the leaders of the “Common
Denominator” protest group, which called for equal service for all. Other
like-minded groups have said that Kish’s inclusion in the committee is unfair,
because he only joined the demonstrations in recent months and is a Likud
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