Knesset to discuss draft exemption, foreign workers kids

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
August 5, 2010 02:27

Rivlin agrees to opposition move to call special session next week.

1 minute read.



Reuven Rivlin

rivlin 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced late Wednesday that he had agreed to an opposition move to call the Knesset plenum into special session next week.

Kadima and Meretz initiated the call for the special plenum session, during which the plenum will discuss two topics – the recent government approval of a plan to expand the draft exemption for haredi men, and this week’s government decision to expel a number of children of foreign workers.

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MK Robert Tibayev (Kadima) was instrumental in pushing for the special plenum session, which Rivlin scheduled for next Monday, to discuss the controversial decision by the government to expand the haredi draft exemption to unmarried men above the age of 22.

Kadima officials said that the government vote – which was rubber-stamped by ministers, some of whom later said that they were not even aware of what they were approving – was an attempt by the government to “hijack” the subject and subvert the legislative process.

“This was an illegitimate process that’s essence is to break understandings that already exist within Israeli society,” said Kadima spokesman Shmulik Dahan.

“The burden of service must be evenly divided, and the attempts by the Netanyahu government to do this behind our backs undermines these values and understandings, and Kadima will fight it.”

The legislative status of the government vote is still being examined by opposition MKs in an attempt to understand whether it must pass a Knesset vote as well as government approval. Members of draft advocacy groups said that their understanding was that the new expanded exemption would go into effect on September 1, and that only afterward, a government committee would be formed to further examine the issue of the extension.


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