Aspiring MK Yair Lapid presented his alternative to the Tal Law in the first
conference for his Yesh Atid Party on Tuesday afternoon.
Lapid’s plan, anyone who does not do IDF or civilian service will not receive
any government stipends. Over the next five years, he proposed, a government
service office should be founded to determine where every 18-year-old – haredi
(ultra-Orthodox), secular or Arab – will serve. The IDF will decide who should
enlist, and all others will do national service, he said.
While the plan
is going into effect, he continued, haredim will receive an exemption from the
IDF and can join the work force, while the most talented students will stay in
Currently only students enlisted in yeshivas can be exempt from
IDF service, but Lapid hopes this plan will encourage those students less
dedicated to Torah studies to work. After five years, all haredi 18-year-olds
would have to do some form of service.
Calling the plan “Equal Service
for All,” Lapid said several times this was “not just a campaign slogan or
bumper sticker,” in an attempt to differentiate himself from parties in the
Knesset with similar proposals.
“The scent of elections is in the air,
and suddenly the politicians realize we need a new model,” Lapid said at a press
conference in Tel Aviv.
“However, no one has presented an all-inclusive
solution that is deep and serious and will solve this complex problem in a way
all of Israeli society can live with.”
The former Channel 2 news anchor
explained that he had consulted with former IDF Manpower Directorate chief
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern, as well as leaders of last summer’s social
protests and haredim to find a “real, comprehensive solution.”
to explain to the haredim – we can no longer deal with [their exemption from the
IDF] socially or economically.
It is tearing us apart as a society,” he
said. “For years, the middle class carried the haredim on their backs, but we
cannot support tens of thousands of yeshiva students who do not join the
Addressing the haredi community, he said: “Don’t let anyone
lie to you – we do not hate you. We just can’t take it anymore. They’ll
understand. They’re intelligent and involved, and they know exactly what
As proof, the he pointed out that a haredi man from Bnei
Brak started last year’s “cottage cheese protest.”
Lapid also said having
thousands of citizens in national service could solve many of society’s ills and
help special needs children, Holocaust survivors and others in
However, other political parties played down Lapid’s
“Mr. Lapid, we do not hate you, but the public can see through your
hypocritical doublespeak,” a Shas spokesman said following the Yesh Atid
“If you would learn the subject in depth, you’d
see that Torah learners do not get special stipends, and most of the
religious-traditional community served in the IDF in combat units while you were
working on the [IDF magazine] Bamahaneh
,” the spokesman quipped, adding, “Try to
study harder – without academic tricks” – a reference to the fact that Lapid was
registered for a doctoral program without finishing a BA.
Labor warned voters not to follow a “fashionable party with unclear values that
has tempted good people who will be disappointed in a short
According to Labor, Yesh Atid is like many other parties that are
born with an expiration date attached to them, and citizens should not waste