Legislation to replace the “Tal Law” will be passed by the end of July, said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the first cabinet meeting of the newly enlarged coalition, held Sunday morning.

The new law, he said, will divide the burden of military service in a more equal, egalitarian and just basis for all Israelis, Jews and Arab alike, without pitting different communities against each other.

Netanyahu said that an inter-party working group will be formed this week to present alternatives to the Tal Law.

Passed in 2002 as a temporary, five-year law, and renewed in 2007, the High Court of Justice ruled in February of this year that the law allowing haredi men studying full-time in yeshiva to indefinitely postpone their military service contravenes Israel’s Basic Laws. It will expire on August 1.

Netanyahu originally announced back in January that the Tal Law would be extended for another five-year term, but widespread public opposition forced an about-face on the issue.

The prime minister also said that a similar working group would be established in the coming days to lead to a change in the electoral system, another of the commitments made by Netanyahu and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz in their agreement last week to form a national unity government.

He also mentioned the other coalition goals of passing a new budget and advancing the peace process with the Palestinians.

To that end, Netanyahu added, special envoy to the Palestinian Authority Yitzhak Molho met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

“I hope we will be able to advance the dialogue between the two sides in order to resume the diplomatic talks,” the prime minister said.

Despite Netanyahu’s warm words of welcome to Mofaz and Kadima, several MKs from both parties have continued to express their concerns with the new arrangement.

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) said on Saturday evening, “We certainly need to examine the negative consequences of recent political events. Events like this do not encourage people to be involved in politics and even to not come and vote.”

And senior Kadima MK and former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik said on Channel 2’s Meet the Press program that Kadima’s move to join the government “was a step that looks bad.”

But she added, “The stench will be less important if the results are good... then we will have done good for the State of Israel.

I want to give this opportunity to this move which has started in a negative fashion but could end up finishing well.”

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