Our prime minister speaks at cabinet meeting 370.
(photo credit: Pool)
The “Tal Law” will be reformed in a “responsible” manner to address the social
and manpower problems it has caused, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said
during the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
The Tal Law provided the
legal framework for haredi men to indefinitely defer military service. The High
Court of Justice ruled it illegal in February.
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I would like to say thateven before the High Court ruling
on the Tal Law
I had publicly declared that we would replace the Tal Law with a new law
so that there will be a more equal, just and fair balance
for the state of Israel and all of its citizens, Arabs and Jews as one
We will do it.
we will do it in a responsible manner
that will not incite one part of the public against another part
This is important now and at all times
During Sunday’s meeting,
Netanyahu reminded the cabinet that he had “publicly declared” that the Tal Law
would be replaced even before the High Court ruling, referring to statements he
made in January.
The prime minister’s comments in January were somewhat
ambiguous, however, and he refused to clarify at the time whether the government
wanted to reform the law or scrap it completely.
On Sunday, Netanyahu
told the cabinet that the amended law would create a “more equal, just and fair
balance for the State of Israel and all of its citizens, both Arabs and
Jews.” He nevertheless emphasized the importance of “not pitting one
sector of society against another,” in reference to the strident criticism
leveled by Kadima and other opposition parties at the Tal Law and the haredi
community for the low level of military service participation in the
“This is important now and at all times,” the
prime minister said.
Earlier, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz called on
Netanyahu “not to bury his head in the sand,” and to stop stalling reform of the
Speaking at Jerusalem’s new “Camp Sucker” protest site in the
Whol Rose Garden opposite the Knesset, Mofaz said Kadima would propose a bill at
the start of the next legislative session, but emphasized that the proposal
would “not be a law against anyone – we call on everyone to serve like our
children serve. Military service is not burden, rather it is a great privilege,”
the Kadima party leader continued. “But it is also an obligation and it is time
that the obligation apply to everyone.”
Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner, who
was chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee working group
for implementing the Tal Law, told The Jerusalem Post
that those who insist on
obligatory military or national service for all are “watching the prime minister
closely,” to ensure that the new legislation is not simply “Tal Law II,”
designed to appease the haredi parties without resolving the issues.
the new proposals don’t include mandatory service then we will assemble a
coalition of Zionist parties to pass a different law,” Plesner said.
Thursday, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin met with senior haredi leader Rabbi
Aharon Leib Shteinman saying that both sides need to act responsibly to reach
“agreement and understanding.” Rivlin has previously emphasized the importance
of the government reaching an agreement with the ultra-Orthodox, arguing that
coercive measures to mandate obligatory service would result in thousands of
haredim going to jail instead of to the army.
Earlier on Sunday, Plesner
told dozens of protesters camped out in the Wohl Rose Garden that the only way
to ensure the country’s future was to maintain the IDF as the “people’s army,”
in which everyone serves.
“Especially during the week between Holocaust
Remembrance Day and Independence Day, it is critical that we remember that the
model of the people’s army is in danger of collapse,” Plesner said. “The
annulment of the Tal Law has provided us with a one-time opportunity to fix the
distortion of our values and to save the only model for military and national
service that can preserve our existence in this land.”
The Tal Law will
expire on August 1; legislation to replace is expected to be drafted during the
Knesset’s summer session that begins on Sunday.