Don't put it off

Rabbi Regev says: Torpedo Netanyahu’s extension to the Tal Law

The Tal Law, which intended to provide ultra-Orthodox men a means to fulfill military or civil service, has been called “a miserable farce” by MK Nitzan Horowitz. Rabbi Regev says “Any extension in the law beyond a year will be rewarding the law’s failure and encourage draft dodging.”

Soldier with talit Flash90Soldier with talit Flash90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that the government will consider an extension of the Tal Law for a third time. Netanyahu’s office said the Prime Minister plans to extend the law for another five years.

In a meeting of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense, Netanyahu said that the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox soldiers stands at 2,361 in 2011, 1,282 who are doing military service and the rest in national service. Target recruitment was 2,400 soldiers. Netanyahu noted that this is a 40% increase from the previous year.

Every year, 15% of the recruitment class of 18 year old is ultra-Orthodox males who postpone their service until they finish yeshiva. The overwhelming majority never complete their service because they study in yeshiva indefinitely into their adulthood or they receive exemption on account of their children.

The original intention of the law was to provide ultra-Orthodox men with a means of fulfilling required service if they wanted to leave yeshiva; it was thought that with the passing of this law, many young men would be able to receive life skills training and continue on into the workforce. However, the law has widely been seen as a failure as few ultra-Orthodox men have taken advantage of it. Many view the failure to be a result of societal pressures on ultra-Orthodox men to remain indefinitely in yeshivas, both from their communities and the heads of the yeshivas themselves. 

Netanyahu will deal a serious blow to the possibility of equal sharing of civic burden in extending the Tal Law, accelerating the risk of the collapse of the model of "The People’s army".

Hiddush President, Rabbi Uri Regev, remarked “We call on Israel Beiteinu and Independence parties to torpedo thisproposed extension,” saying “The Tal Law, which was supposed to increase access for ultra-Orthodox men into military and civil service, has failed, in part because of the opposition of ultra-Orthodox leadership. Any extension beyond one year will reward this failure and encourage further draft dodging. The year extension, as proposed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, could be a good opportunity to make real change, stopping the distinguishing between classes of people and lead us on a path to actually exercising the principle of compulsory service.”

MK Yohanan Plesner, chairman of the committee termed with implementing the Tal Law in the Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense said: “Netanyahu will deal a serious blow to the possibility of equal sharing of civic burden in extending the Tal Law, accelerating the risk of the collapse of the model of "The People’s army". In the height of cynicism, Netanyahu’s office presents half-truths and takes facts out of context to justify the extension of a law that will allow continued immoral evasion of military service. Without change, within just a few years, half of Israel’s population will not serve.”

The Forum for Equal Sharing of Civil Burdens, as written in “The Marker” stressed that “The Surpreme Court strongly criticized the law...Within a few years [without implementation of mandatory service], there will be no one to defend the State of Israel. It’s upsetting to see President Netanyahu ignore 50 generals and majors that demand change in this law.”

The Jerusalem Post’s coverage of Hiddush 

Article in “The Marker” (Hebrew)

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