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.
“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
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.
rates are approximately 75%, excluding the Arab sector, which is exempt from
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.