The “Tal Law” will be replaced with a Kadima-led, government-sponsored Basic Law
requiring all citizens to perform military or civilian service, with changes
suggested by the Likud, following the coalition agreement signed on
According to the agreement, both parties will work to pass a law
to ensure “equal and fair distribution of the burden of IDF service between the
parts of Israel’s population” by July 31, the day the Tal Law will expire,
according to the High Court of Justice.
A staff headed by Kadima will
draft the bill, according to the agreement.
Two weeks ago, MK Yohanan
Plesner, who chaired a subcommittee on the Tal Law in the Knesset Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee, presented Kadima’s alternative bill, which will
implement mandatory service for all within five years. Every citizen will be
recruited to serve either in the IDF or in the areas of domestic security,
education, welfare, health, emergency services or immigrant absorption. Anyone
who does not serve if called will be denied any payments from the
A 1,000 exemplary yeshiva students will be exempt from service,
and other yeshiva students may defer serving in the military or national service
for one year, every year, for a maximum of eight years.
said the party will suggest changes to the bill, so that it can pass without
haredi parties leaving the coalition.
The main change is expected to be
the reverse of allowing an exemption for 1,000 yeshiva stude5 nts. Rather than
limiting the number of students, the legislation is likely to present a minimum
number for haredim doing military or national service, which will be increased
This gradual increase will allow both the IDF and haredi
society to adjust to the major changes this legislation is likely to
While Kadima chairman Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima
chairman Shaul Mofaz expressed confidence that the new policy will be approved,
several Kadima MKs told The Jerusalem Post they are skeptical about its chances,
citing distrust of Netanyahu, among other reasons.
The haredi Knesset
factions have greeted the new coalition arrangements cautiously, but United
Torah Judaism leaders said their party would remain in the coalition for the
meantime and said that they welcomed efforts to strengthen the
However, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman (UTJ)
emphasized that, as the party sees it, the coalition agreement made when the
government was formed in 2009 stands, and the addition of Kadima does change the
original coalition accords.
He pointed out that in particular, the
principle of military service deferrals for haredi men studying in yeshiva,
Torato Omanuto (“Torah is his vocation”), was a central part of the coalition
“There can’t be a situation in Israel in 2012 where someone
who wants to study Torah will not be able to do so,” Litzman said. “But as long
as the principle of Torato Omunato is preserved, UTJ will remain in the
He added that capping the number of yeshiva students eligible
for military service exemptions would be unacceptable, but conceded that “anyone
who is not learning as he should be should be drafted.”
deputy minister admitted that the party was concerned about the proposals for a
Tal Law replacement made before the new coalition deal was announced.
spokesman for Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (UTJ) said that how the
issue is managed is now in the hands of the prime minister, but that the party
hopes that any new legislation will be worked out through compromise and
Shas chairman Eli Yishai told Army Radio on Tuesday an
alternative to the Tal Law can be found to suit both sides and that the High
Court ruling did not say that all haredim have to be drafted, only that the law
must be changed.
He also said that the Defense Ministry and the military
establishment are “not interested” in drafting haredim, an assertion he has made
several times over the past few months.
“There are thousands waiting to
be drafted, but the army doesn’t want too many haredim,” despite “an increase in
haredi willingness and motivation to enlist,” Yishai said.
As for fixing
a quota for the number of haredim who must enlist each year, Shas MK Nissim
Ze’ev told the Post that, in his opinion, this policy is already in place de
facto, and has been since 2008, possibly referring to government goals for
haredi enlistment set following the renewal of the Tal Law in 2008.
said, however, that Shas insists that the principle of Torato Omunato remains in
place, and did not see any contradiction between this policy and setting a quota
for drafting a set number of men from the haredi sector.
Ze’ev added that
he was extremely pleased the Knesset would not be dissolved, because it would
prevent radicalization within Kadima regarding the Tal Law, and would also
prevent Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid from influencing the issue with his
“Now that there’s more time to discuss the issue,
we can talk about it with more respect and in greater sincerity, not just in
populist terms,” Ze’ev said. “But the prime minister must try to bridge between
the demands of the different sectors. The only way to achieve anything on this
issue is through dialogue.”
He added that there were many different
solutions and alternatives for getting the ultra-Orthodox community to take up
the “yoke of serving the state,” a process that he said is already under
Boaz Nol, one of the leaders of the “Camp Sucker” IDF draft-reform
movement, called the developments a “potential revolution” and said that his
movement welcomed the new coalition arrangements, provided that they result in a
law mandating obligatory military or civilian service for all.
months ago, it seemed like the Tal Law was simply going to be extended for
another five years, but following our efforts, this issue has spurred the
formation of what is basically a new government, so we’re proud and happy about
these developments,” said Nol. “But the faith of the electorate in the prime
minister and Shaul Mofaz, and their personal integrity, will now be tested, so
we need to see results in three months’ time,” he added.