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
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
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
He also mentioned the other coalition goals of passing a new
budget and advancing the peace process with the Palestinians.
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
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
I want to give this opportunity to this move which has started
in a negative fashion but could end up finishing well.”