Liberman pushes Tal Law alternative

FM Kicks off Knesset summer session with bill requiring all to join IDF, civilian service; 1,000 yeshiva students can be exempt.

FM Liberman in the rain near Jordan Valley_390 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
FM Liberman in the rain near Jordan Valley_390
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Yisrael Beytenu fired the opening shot for the Knesset’s summer session, submitting the first of many “Tal Law” alternatives expected in the coming months.
The Tal Law – declared illegal by the High Court of Justice in February – provided the legal framework for ultra-Orthodox men to defer IDF service indefinitely.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called for all MKs who believe in equality in the national burden, whether they are in the opposition or coalition, to vote for his party’s bill on May 9.
Liberman wrote on his Facebook wall that he hopes by next year, the soldiers given awards on Independence Day will originate from all sectors – secular, haredi, Druse, Arab and Bedouin.
He also called on legislators from across the political spectrum to support the proposed bill.
“All groups, organizations and people involved in this issue should contact all MKs from Likud, Labor, Kadima, Independence, National Union, Habayit Hayehudi and Meretz and demand they support our proposal,” Liberman added. “No gimmicks, no excuses. Whoever wants everyone to serve in the army should just come and vote.”
Today, an estimated 60,000 men of army service age receive exemptions as full-time yeshiva students through the Tal Law.
Calling military service an “existential necessity,” Yisrael Beytenu’s alternative to the Tal Law would require almost all 18-year-olds, regardless of faith or religious observance, to enlist in either the IDF or fulfill national service.
The bill – written by MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), chairman of the Knesset constitution, law and justice committee chairman – quotes Maimonides, who said that those who do not work for a living are desecrating God’s name, and that it is forbidden to receive payment for learning Torah.
Up to 1,000 yeshiva students be able to receive an exemption from military service, in order to encourage those with exceptional talents. The same amount of excellent university students, athletes and artists may receive an exemption, as well.
Anyone who serves in national or civilian service will receive full rights and benefits, equal to those who served in the IDF, the bill states. Civilian service will be administrated through the Prime Minister’s Office and under his direct supervision.
Those who do not serve the state may not receive any grants or payments from the government, “in order to prevent those who dodge service from relying on funding from the government, so they will have to earn a living,” according to the legislation’s subtext.