'Tal Law to be subjected to Knesset's full scrutiny'

Rivlin says procedures required to extend the Tal Law will not be shortened despite current “election atmosphere.”

February 21, 2012 03:05
1 minute read.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin [file]

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin 311. (photo credit: Courtesy: Knesset Channel)

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said on Monday that the procedures required to extend the Tal Law will not be shortened despite the current “election atmosphere” in the country.

“The Tal Law issue is one of the most important concerns for the state in Israel’s history,” Rivlin told deputy-leaders of the various Knesset factions.

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“The government needs to recognize that the discussion held in the Knesset plenum [in January] regarding the extension of the Law is only preliminary step.”

According to Rivlin, the law needs to be passed to one of the Knesset committees for debate, following which the committee’s recommendations will be brought for a final vote in the Knesset plenum.

The law will expire in August if not renewed by the Knesset before that time.

The Tal Law was passed by the Knesset as a temporary five-year law in 2002, with the possibility of being extended.

Designed to encourage ultra- Orthodox men to enlist in the IDF or for national service, critics of the law say that the number of haredi men serving still remains too low.

According to IDF figures, 1,282 ultra-Orthodox men enlisted to IDF service in 2011, out of a potential pool of 8,500, representing an enlistment rate of 15 percent.

National enlistment rates are approximately 75%, excluding the Arab sector, which is exempt from military service.

In addition to IDF service, 1,079 ultra-Orthodox men enlisted to national service programs in 2011.

Even if the government prefers to avoid extending the law because of any upcoming election, the law would still need to be renewed temporarily [so that the legal framework for haredi men in kollel to enlist remains in place] until after a new government is formed, Rivlin added.

The Knesset legal adviser said that even though the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is the natural forum for discussion of the law, there is no legal obligation to do so and it could be passed to any permanent, special or joint committee of the house.

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