Barak announces alternative Tal Law

Defense minister says he will submit law - which will reshape mechanisms for IDF enlistment, nat'l service - to gov't.

Religious IDF soldier 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Religious IDF soldier 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday he will submit a replacement bill in the coming days for the contentious Tal Law, after some in the coalition threatened that a failure to draft a new alternative could endanger the future of the coalition.
Barak said his plan would present a "broader arrangement" for enlistment, saying that the IDF will determine who to enlist, and who will be referred to national or civil service instead. The IDF mandated national service will last around a year, according to the defense minister's proposal. 
As part of his proposal, Barak said the army would award soldiers serving for two additional years a salary similar to minimum wage in order to allow them to study or develop professional skills. The youths that that the IDF defers to either civil or national service will need to integrate afterward into the work force, according to Barak's plan.
Some 400 yeshiva students per year would be allowed to defer army service to continue their studies, according to his plan. There are currently approximately 60,000 full-time yeshiva students who are of army service age but who have gained exemptions under the terms of the Tal Law.
"Only an arrangement this broad will be equitable to all strata of society, and fair to soldiers serving [in the IDF]," said Barak in a written statement.
The defense minister said he hoped a preliminary reading of the law would lead to negotiations with all the interested parties, and could bring about the bill's implementation by this upcoming summer.
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report