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Liberman's Tal Law alternative unexpectedly clears hurdle
By LAHAV HARKOV AND JPOST.COM STAFF
06/05/2012
Bill proposing military or national service for all passes Ministerial Committee for Legislation, a necessary step for pushing it through before the Knesset dissolves.
 
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation unexpectedly approved Yisrael Beytenu's alternative to the “Tal Law” on Monday, in a step that will allow the bill to advance in the Knesset before its expected dissolution this week.

Its passage by the committee is the first hurdle in an accelerated legislative process that would allow the bill to be taken up in its first reading on Monday, the next necessary stop to make it law by Wednesday.

The Tal Law, which allows haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men to indefinitely defer IDF service and was recently invalidated by the High Court of Justice, is set to become the central issue in the upcoming election. Yisrael Beytenu is recruiting MKs to support its replacement for the legislation, which would require all 18-year-old men to enlist in the IDF or perform civilian service.

The proposal allows for 1,000 yeshiva students and the same number of athletes and artists to receive an exemption from the draft to encourage those with exceptional talents. Those who do not serve the state may not receive any grants or payments from the government.

Yisrael Beytenu welcomed the decision by the ministerial committee, who the party said "understood well the importance of the bill." The party urged Knesset members from all factions "to take advantage of this opportunity to replace the Tal Law, which perpetuates inequality in Israeli society and uneven distribution of its burden. "

MK David Rotem who initiated the bill said, "I think the law is very important because it recognizes both the importance of military service and the importance of Torah study."

"Every Israeli citizen must to military service and the days when the entire burden is carried on the shoulders of a certain population of people must be a thing of the past," he added.  

On Thursday, MK Einat Wilf (Independence) said that she would bring her party’s proposed alternative to the Tal Law to a vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

Independence party chairman Ehud Barak submitted an identical ministerial bill, which does not require approval from the committee. Wilf’s move is meant to strengthen Barak’s measure.

The Independence bill calls for the IDF to decide which 18-year-olds should serve in the military. Those who are not recruited by the army would have to perform civilian service for one year.

According to Wilf, Independence’s bill is the only one “that is based on the IDF’s understanding of security.”
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