Lapid presents Tal Law alternative at party event

"Don't believe what anyone says – I don't hate haredim," aspiring MK says, calling for "equal service for all."

Yair Lapid 370 (photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)
Yair Lapid 370
(photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)
Aspiring MK Yair Lapid presented his alternative to the Tal Law in the first conference for his Yesh Atid Party on Tuesday afternoon.
According to Lapid’s plan, anyone who does not do IDF or civilian service will not receive any government stipends. Over the next five years, he proposed, a government service office should be founded to determine where every 18-year-old – haredi (ultra-Orthodox), secular or Arab – will serve. The IDF will decide who should enlist, and all others will do national service, he said.
While the plan is going into effect, he continued, haredim will receive an exemption from the IDF and can join the work force, while the most talented students will stay in yeshiva.
Currently only students enlisted in yeshivas can be exempt from IDF service, but Lapid hopes this plan will encourage those students less dedicated to Torah studies to work. After five years, all haredi 18-year-olds would have to do some form of service.
Calling the plan “Equal Service for All,” Lapid said several times this was “not just a campaign slogan or bumper sticker,” in an attempt to differentiate himself from parties in the Knesset with similar proposals.
“The scent of elections is in the air, and suddenly the politicians realize we need a new model,” Lapid said at a press conference in Tel Aviv.
“However, no one has presented an all-inclusive solution that is deep and serious and will solve this complex problem in a way all of Israeli society can live with.”
The former Channel 2 news anchor explained that he had consulted with former IDF Manpower Directorate chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern, as well as leaders of last summer’s social protests and haredim to find a “real, comprehensive solution.”
“We need to explain to the haredim – we can no longer deal with [their exemption from the IDF] socially or economically.
It is tearing us apart as a society,” he said. “For years, the middle class carried the haredim on their backs, but we cannot support tens of thousands of yeshiva students who do not join the workforce.”
Addressing the haredi community, he said: “Don’t let anyone lie to you – we do not hate you. We just can’t take it anymore. They’ll understand. They’re intelligent and involved, and they know exactly what is happening.”
As proof, the he pointed out that a haredi man from Bnei Brak started last year’s “cottage cheese protest.”
Lapid also said having thousands of citizens in national service could solve many of society’s ills and help special needs children, Holocaust survivors and others in need.
However, other political parties played down Lapid’s plan.
“Mr. Lapid, we do not hate you, but the public can see through your hypocritical doublespeak,” a Shas spokesman said following the Yesh Atid founder’s presentation.
“If you would learn the subject in depth, you’d see that Torah learners do not get special stipends, and most of the religious-traditional community served in the IDF in combat units while you were working on the [IDF magazine] Bamahaneh,” the spokesman quipped, adding, “Try to study harder – without academic tricks” – a reference to the fact that Lapid was registered for a doctoral program without finishing a BA.
Meanwhile, Labor warned voters not to follow a “fashionable party with unclear values that has tempted good people who will be disappointed in a short time.”
According to Labor, Yesh Atid is like many other parties that are born with an expiration date attached to them, and citizens should not waste their vote.