Haredi IDF soldiers Tal Law 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout .)
The government’s bill for the enlistment of haredim will be enacted as early as
August, Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced on Monday, but a more experienced
coalition source expressed doubt he will be able to keep his
“Yesh Atid continues fulfilling its campaign promises,” Lapid
said in a faction meeting. “The government passed the bill for equality in the
burden. In August, tens of thousands of yeshiva students will get a letter to
report to army bases and they can choose to go to work and make money. The law
will already apply.”
Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri,
who led the ministerial committee on haredi enlistment, told reporters that the
bill will pass in its first reading next Monday.
He said that the bill
will then be brought to a committee led by Bayit Yehudi faction leader Ayelet
Shaked, and will pass in its second and third (final) readings during the
Knesset’s summer session, which ends August 4.
“We will insist that it
passes before the session ends,” Peri said. “Yesh Atid has done the
The enlistment bill cannot be brought to a first
reading next week, because such votes take place on Mondays, but next Monday is
the eve of Tisha Be’av, a fast day for observant Jews, and the Knesset will have
a short day with no voting on legislation.
As such, the bill will be
brought to a vote less than two weeks before the summer session ends, while the
entire Knesset will be busy finalizing the state budget.
“The Peri Bill
won’t be able to pass in its final reading during this session,” a senior
coalition source said. “Practically, I don’t see it happening. [Yesh
Atid] climbed up a tree and can’t get down.”
The source explained that
not only will it be hard to find time to deal with haredi enlistment during
intensive budget votes, but no serious discussion of the Peri Bill can take
place in the week-and-a-half the Shaked Committee would have at its disposal if
the legislation were to theoretically pass.
“Equality in the burden needs
a deeper discussion,” the source said.
As such, the bill is more likely
to be brought to a vote in the Knesset’s winter session. Bills cannot be passed
during the Knesset’s recess, which will take place from August to October, when
the winter session will begin.
Also on Monday, opposition parties
prepared to fight haredi enlistment, speaking out against the government-
approved bill, while Yesh Atid vowed the legislation would pass in the next
“[Lapid’s] promise to enlist every haredi man at age 18 is
just like his promise to protect the middle class,” Shas leader MK Arye Deri
said at a faction meeting. “His budget hurts the middle class, and you’re
welcome to look at his enlistment bill and see if it does what he
“The only promise Lapid kept,” Deri added, “is to leave haredim
out of the coalition.” The Shas leader said attempts to “force haredim into
secular culture” by cutting off government funding will not
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said at a Labor
faction meeting that her party will hold a discussion of the enlistment bill,
following work by a team led by MK Itzik Shmuly.
“The enlistment bill in
its current form won’t solve the central problem of integrating haredim in the
workforce,” Yacimovich said.
“There is a real fear that it will bring an
opposite result and decrease the number of haredim that enlist.”