UTJ to push law protecting yeshiva students from IDF enlistment

The party is considering pushing forward a law that enshrines Torah study as an "essential" Israeli value, and would attempt to block yeshiva students from being drafted to the army.

February 1, 2018 13:48
1 minute read.
Tikkun Leil Shavuot

The practice of ‘Tikkun Leil Shavuot’ is to dedicate one whole night to the study of Torah and discussion. (photo credit: REUTERS)

United Torah Judaism is considering to advance a Basic Law, which would enshrine the value of Torah study as a supreme value in the State of Israel in order to protect the right of yeshiva students not to perform military service.

The party’s MKs have discussed various options with its lawyers, one of which is to pass a Basic Law, since this would prevent the High Court of Justice intervening and striking down regular legislation affording yeshiva students the right not to serve, as it has done in the past.

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A draft version of the legislation, first published by Walla! News, stipulates that “Torah study is a foundational value in the heritage of the Jewish people,” and that “The State of Israel as a Jewish state, sees  [the] utmost importance in encouraging Torah study and Torah students.”

It also says that the state will view “those who accepted upon themselves to dedicate themselves to Torah study for a lengthy period as someone who is serving the Jewish people, and their right to postpone other obligations, including security or national service will be recognized.”

The content of the document was corroborated by senior officials within UTJ.

The law would need 61 votes and not just a simple majority in Knesset, since it would become a Basic Law.

The UTJ source acknowledged that it will be difficult to obtain the votes for this bill since Yisrael Beytenu are highly unlikely to agree with it, while Kulanu and its chairman Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon are also likely to have doubts about such a far-reaching legislation.

The party official said however that UTJ’s MKs have not yet decided whether or not to pursue the Basic Law option or to find an alternative by making adjustments to the law passed at the beginning of the current Knesset which was struck down by the High Court in September last year.

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