Reserve soldiers prepare to deploy in Ashkelon 370.
(photo credit: marc israel sellem / the jerusalem post)
A bill granting IDF veterans benefits in employment, higher education, buying
land and other areas remained under Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s veto this
week, pushing off its possibility of being brought to a vote until the Knesset’s
Sources close to coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud
Beytenu) accused Livni of breaking a deal between them, in which she would
remove her veto if Levin wrote a “softer” version of the legislation with
Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, but Livni’s office said she is waiting for
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein’s opinion.
According to Levin’s
original bill, those who served the country can be preferred in hiring
practices, receive higher salaries and get better services without it being
In addition, those who serve will be preferred
in receiving dormitory rooms in universities and in purchasing land, and there
will be affirmative action for them to work in civil service
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved Levin’s
bill a month ago, however, Weinstein immediately said it is unconstitutional,
discriminatory and goes against the principle of equality, so Livni vetoed
Levin submitted a new version of the bill Monday, which he wrote in
cooperation with Yinon.
The new legislation limits benefits for veterans
to seven years after they finish IDF or civilian service or for the duration of
their reserve duty. In addition, veterans will not get preference in civil
service jobs, but employers in the private sector may prefer to hire veterans
without it being regarded as discriminatory.
According to a source close
to Levin, Livni promised to remove her veto once the more moderate version of
the bill was proposed.
However, the veto remained on Wednesday, the last
possible day to bring up new bills in the Knesset’s summer session, to Levin’s
Next week is the last week of the summer session, which is to be
mostly dedicated to budget votes. The Knesset is to renew its activities in
October, though the government can call the legislature to vote on important
bills during the interim.
“There was no deal. We’re waiting for the
attorney-general’s opinion. This is a matter of principle; it’s not political,”
Livni’s spokeswoman explained. “This is the standard way the Justice Ministry
The new version of Levin’s bill was brought to Weinstein for
review, the Attorney- General’s Office asked for more time to give an educated
opinion, and Livni, as Justice Minister, preferred to wait for his approval
before removing the veto.
“[Weinstein’s] opinion that the original
version was constitutionally problematic was resolute. We need to be sure that
this version is fine, and then we’ll remove the veto,” Livni’s spokeswoman said.