What is the Keshev Committee?

The Keshev Committee is an acronym of the Hebrew phrase “promoting equality in the burden.” Its mandate is to integrate haredim (ultra- Orthodox) and Israeli Arabs in army or civilian service, and deal with any related topics that may influence the integration, directly or indirectly.

The committee must submit a report summarizing its work, conclusions and recommendations.

In addition, it will compose a bill for equality in the burden, and tell the government how it should implement the proposed legislation – including budgetary implications and supervision mechanisms.

All this must be complete by June 28. The date will give the Knesset time to pass the bill before July 25, when it goes on summer recess, and before August 1, the date on which the “Tal Law” will no longer be valid, according to the High Court of Justice ruling from earlier this year.

Who is on the Keshev Committee?

The Keshev Committee is comprised of members of coalition factions, as well as public representatives. The committee list is not yet final, and an Arab representative is expected to be added.

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima)

Committee chairman Plesner was the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee to examine the Tal Law, and as such has researched the issue of haredim in the military and proposed Kadima’s bill for equality in the burden. Plesner is also a staunch ally of Vice Premier and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz.

Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud)

Elkin is representing his faction in the Keshev Committee. A strict enforcer of coalition discipline, he has successfully negotiated with other parties on complex issues in the past. Likud has not proposed a Tal Law alternative.

MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu)

Rotem is the chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and was assigned by his party’s chairman, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, to compose Yisrael Beytenu’s alternative to the Tal Law.
Rotem submitted the legislation earlier this month, which would allow for up to 1,000 of the top yeshiva students to be exempt from service.

MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi)

Orbach is Habayit Hayehudi’s faction chairman. Though his party has not submitted a bill to replace the Tal Law, Orbach said on Monday that he agrees with the Keshev Committee’s goal, and hopes it will reach understandings with haredim so they can do a significant service.

MK Einat Wilf (Independence)

Wilf is the Independence faction chairwoman, and composed her party’s alternative to the Tal Law, which emphasizes the need for the IDF and the Defense Ministry to decide which 18 year olds are suitable for military service, and which are not.

Prof. Yedidya Stern

Stern is the vice president of research at the Israel Democracy Institute, a full professor at Bar-Ilan University’s law school and its former dean. He is an expert on matters of religion and state.

Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats

Zilbershats is deputy president of Bar-Ilan University and a law professor. She was part of the committee that chose Habayit Hayehudi’s list for the 18th Knesset, and was rumored to be Liberman’s choice for ambassador to the UN.

Jacob Weinroth

Weinroth is a renowned attorney, who has represented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other ministers, and an ordained rabbi. He served on the Tal Committee, which composed the eponymous law. Shas and United Torah Judaism, which are boycotting the Keshev Committee, have said that while Weinroth does not officially speak for them, they trust him to represent their interests.

Yoav Kish

Kish is one of the leaders of the “Common Denominator” protest group, which called for equal service for all. Other like-minded groups have said that Kish’s inclusion in the committee is unfair, because he only joined the demonstrations in recent months and is a Likud member.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger