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Yisrael Beytenu calls to postpone Knesset dissolution
By LAHAV HARKOV AND JPOST.COM STAFF
06/05/2012
Faction chairman Robert Ilatov asks to delay Knesset dissolution bill to allow Liberman's Tal Law alternative time to pass; ministerial committee unlikely to pass alternative.
 
Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov on Sunday requested a postponement to the upcoming vote to dissolve the Knesset.

Ilatov asked Coalition Chairman Ze’ev Elkin, who had submitted the bill to dissolve the Knesset, to table the bill in order to allow more time for a Yisrael Beytenu Tal Law-alternative to pass. The Tal Law allows haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men to indefinitely defer IDF service and was recently invalidated by the High Court of Justice.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation was set to take up Yisrael Beytenu's alternative to the Tal Law Sunday as part of a push to move the bill forward despite the Knesset's expected dissolution.

Since May 9 was expected to be the last day of the 18th Knesset, Yisrael Beytenu would have had to push it through an accelerated legislative process for it to pass its first reading on Monday and become law by Wednesday.

The process cannot be sped up unless the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approves the bill, which is unlikely, as haredi parties and the Likud would have to approve it. Haredi parties oppose requiring their constituents to serve, while the Likud would lose points politically by allowing Yisrael Beytenu’s reform to pass.

Without postponing the dissolution, another possible approach would be gathering signatures from 61 MKs, which would require Speaker Reuven Rivlin to call a meeting of the Knesset despite its dissolution.

Yisrael Beytenu is recruiting MKs to support legislation that 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.

Liberman’s party planned to bring its plan to a preliminary plenum vote on May 9 and threatened to bring down the coalition if it does not pass.

Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin submitted a bill on Wednesday night to dissolve the Knesset, which will be approved this week. As a result, the Tal Law, which was set to expire on August 1, will be automatically extended for six to eight months.

Following Liberman's Thursday announcement, 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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