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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tal Law’

Whither Israel’s New Government?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to form a coalition government with Kadima and cancel planned early elections has inspired endless speculation as to his motives. Some maintain he was seeking a unity government in order to bolster his position with regard to Iran. Others point to his desire to be better able to deal with certain domestic issues such as election reform and changes to the Tal Law.

The prime minister himself made mention of Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians, and that’s what drew our immediate attention – though the Tal Law obviously represents an enormously important concern in the long run.

When he announced his new coalition in a joint press conference with Kadima head Shaul Mofaz, Mr. Netanyahu spoke of the resumption of talks with the Palestinians as one of his four top priorities for the new government and said both he and Mr. Mofaz had agreed to work to renew the peace process.

In a letter to PA President Mahmoud Abbas following the new coalition agreement, the prime minister said the new government has created a new opportunity to move the peace process forward, adding that he wished to restart negotiations as soon as possible.

As a number of commentators have pointed out, Mr. Netanyahu had repeatedly told President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton that he could not advance the peace process due to the composition of his coalition. Indeed, according to Haaretz and other sources, Secretary Clinton spoke with the prime minister following the announcement of the new government and told him that with Kadima now part of the coalition, she was waiting to see how he would move the diplomatic process forward.

One has to wonder what the prime minister has in mind. In a recent New York Times op-ed article, three prominent Israeli leftists blamed the lack of progress in the peace process on “a lack of trust” between the parties. Their solution is palpably absurd: Israel needs to take unilateral steps “to advance the reality of two states based on the 1967 borders, with land swaps – regardless of whether Palestinian leaders have agreed to accept it.”

But given that even those far from the right-wing camp acknowledge that the chances for a bilateral agreement are virtually non-existent, what exactly does Prime Minister Netanyahu think he should have done before that he thinks he can do now?

New Poll Shows Ultra-Orthodox Increasingly Interested in Integrating

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Coinciding with the intensifying focus on ultra-Orthodox participation in military and national service, the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor published a poll on Monday finding that 41% of Haredi men are at least moderately interested in joining the IDF program tailored for Haredi soldiers.

In response to the question “What percentage of your friends do you estimate will remain within the long-term yeshiva framework?” approximately 70% of respondents anticipated that at least half of their colleagues would remain in the yeshiva framework, while the remaining 30% said that very few of their colleagues would remain.

Regarding preferred professions, 60% of respondents chose religious-oriented occupations (like Torah study, Rabbi, Rabbinical judges). Close behind at 56% was teaching, followed by computer-oriented professions (51%), law (38%), and the banking sector (33%).

As mentioned, on the issue of ultra-Orthodox military service, 41% of those surveyed said they would be moderately or very interested in joining the Haredi IDF program, while 59% said they had either little or no interest. Still, the percentage of interest is substantially higher than the current annual rate of Haredi enlistment in the IDF (approx. 15%).

The Israel High Court ruled in February that the Tal Law, which for all intents and purposes permitted ultra-Orthodox men to defer military service indefinitely, is unconstitutional and must be replaced by August 2012.

The respondents also by and large expressed a willingness to study secular subjects like math and English, contrary to the declared opposition of their community leaders.

The poll surveyed 400 unmarried yeshiva students aged 17 through 20, and one of the poll’s researchers told Haaretz that the survey was the first of its kind in its depth and scope.

Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon said that the survey results reflect changing trends in ultra-Orthodox society. “More and more Haredim are seeking to integrate into the work force…So the new ‘Tal Law’ that is to be implemented will provide Haredim with such an opportunity for integration.”

Coalition Grumblings: Political Posturing or First Signs of Splintering?

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Not even a week old, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is already being forced to deal with internal divisions that threaten its stability and makeup.

The intensifying focus on legislating a Tal Law alternative has the ultra-Orthodox parties in the coalition defensive yet intractable. Deputy Health Minister and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) MK Yakov Litzman announced that his party would not participate in the newly-established coalition committee on formulating a Tal Law alternative, headed by Kadima MK Yochanan Plesner. His sentiments were echoed by fellow UTJ MK and Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni, who said that the the party would only “participate in the discussions from the outside.”

The Israel High Court ruled in February that the Tal Law, which for all intents and purposes permitted ultra-Orthodox men to defer military service indefinitely, is unconstitutional and must be replaced by August 2012.

According to the Haredi news website Kikar Shabbat, a senior figure in UTJ said that “we can not take an active part in committee meetings that are designed to remove yeshiva students from the Yeshiva. It contradicts our ideals. On the other hand, it is clear that not participating in the committee will result in much criticism and will limit our ability to influence the committee’s conclusions.”

The boycott follows Gafni’s statement over the weekend to Bnei Brak daily Yated Ne’eman that he was specifically instructed by UTJ spiritual leader Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman “to immediately resign from the government if there’s an attempt to block the study of Torah from our students.

“Any attempt to keep Torah scholars from their studies is an attack on the very soul of the nation,” Gafni stated. “We cannot compromise on this at all… anyone whose heart desires to study Torah must be permitted – without quotas and without conditions. We will never allow the status of Torah scholars to be diminished.”

Internal Affairs Minister and Shas Chairman Eli Yishai on Monday joined UTJ in boycotting the committee after consulting with Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. “Torah scholars are not subject to negotiations on quotas and on their basic right to study of Torah. Their contribution to the Jewish people and to the State of Israel is obvious and apparent to any believing Jew.” Yishai added that “Shas will formulate its own solution to the problem will soon shoulder the burden and show the public.”

UTJ holds 5 seats in the current coalition while Shas holds 10.

Despite the harsh words, Prime Minister Netanyahu intends to invite leading Haredi attorney Jacob Weinrot to serve as the ultra-Orthodox liason – but not ‘representative’ – to the committee, according to Kikar Shabbat.

In joining the coalition last week, Kadima stipulated among other things that a bill proposing an alternative to the Tal Law must be presented to the Knesset before the August deadline. Plesner, responsible for formulating Kadima’s platform vis a vis universal military/national service, was appointed head of the committee last Thursday. The committee will also include Prof. Yedidia Stern from the Israel Democracy Institute and Bar Ilan University, Prof. Yaffa Zilbershatz from Bar Ilan University, and former head of the IDF’s personnel branch, Maj. Gen. (res.) Avi Zamir.

According to recent statements, Plesner’s idea is to test a formula – which he terms “one third, one third, one third” – whereby each ultra-orthodox recruitment cycle will allocate a third of eligible conscripts to the IDF, a third to national service, and a third would be defined as exempt and would continue Torah study in yeshiva.

A source in the Knesset tells The Jewish Press that an alternative to the Tal Law will likely be enacted, but that the new legislation will be weak or temporary; it is understood that because the main focus for both Kadima and Likud  is electoral reform, they will seek to preserve the broad coalition in order to attain the special majority of 80 MKs required to amend Basic Laws on the Knesset and elections.

Netanyahu Inaugurates Coalition with ‘Four Main Goals’

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed Kadima into his Likud-led government at the first cabinet meeting since Kadima’s entry into the coalition.

“This is the first meeting of the broad unity government, and we have many challenges ahead of us. On behalf of all ministers, I welcome Shaul Mofaz as a government minister and welcome the Kadima MKs that have joined the coalition.” Mofaz was sworn in as deputy prime minister and minister-without-portfolio last week.

“In the talks between us, we set four main goals for the broad unity government,” he continued, “changing the Tal Law, changing the electoral system, passing the budget, and advancing the peace process.”

Netanyahu placed greatest priority on advancing a bill that will replace the expiring Tal Law, which permitted Haredi men to defer military service indefinitely. “This week, an inter-party team will be formed to present us with alternatives to the Tal Law. By the end of July, we will pass a law that will divide the burden on a more equal, more egalitarian and more just basis for all Israelis, Jewish and Arab alike, without setting public against public.”

Without going into specifics, Netanyahu also reiterated his and Mofaz’s call last week to reform the electoral system, saying that the government would “establish a team to lead the change in the electoral system.”

One topic that Netanyahu did not address in his statement but is certain to test the strength and durability of the new coalition is the Ulpana outpost crisis. In light of the High Court’s ruling last Monday that Ulpana must be evacuated and destroyed by July 1, there is talk that the government will propose a bill that would circumvent the High Court’s ruling by legalizing Ulpana.

Minister of National Infrastructure Uzi Landau stated that proceeding with the scheduled evacuation and demolition would be “immoral, unjust and inhumane.”

Avigdor Liberman: Ulpana and Tal Law Replacement ‘Two Major Tests’ for New Coalition

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Foreign Minister and Israel Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, speaking at a press conference before a party meeting, welcomed Kadima’s entrance into the coalition but stressed that the new government faces two major tests – finding a replacement for the Tal law and the impending evacuation of the Ulpana outpost.

“This is a coalition Israel needs,” Liberman said, but “these are the two most important tests, and I hope we’re wise enough to pass them.”

Referring to the Tal Law, which expires in August, he said that coalition chairman and Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin’s recent proposal was inadequate. “We will not accept it. We expect a serious proposal, and to be consulted about it. We will fight to make sure that the bill will be serious and comprehensive.”

In light of the High Court’s ruling on Monday that Ulpana must be evacuated and destroyed by July 1, he said: “I hope that we will quickly resolve the problem. The residents who have lived in Givat Ulpana for years are law-abiding citizens. This is not an illegal outpost. It is the state’s mistake, and it must take responsibility. There are ways to regulate the matter with legislation.”

Liberman supports the passage of a law that will circumvent the High Court’s ruling by legalizing Ulpana, especially in light of the fact that the state permitted Ulpana residents to build their homes and community.

Liberman also ridiculed Yair Lapid, who was preparing to shake up the political arena in the now-aborted early elections. “The chances of being elected president of the United States are much higher than the chances that his party will still exist in 2020. This is obviously a one-campaign party.”

Winners and Losers: Israel’s Historic Unity Government

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

A joint JoeSettler-Jameel post. 

Left behind in the wake of Netanyahu’s surprise unity maneuver are some serious winners and loser. There is no doubt that elections would have shaken things up, but this unity coalition shakes up things even more.

What Netanyahu managed to do today is of historic proportions and has some serious ramifications for many people on both a personal and national level. We present to you our list of winners and losers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Winner. Bibi would probably have done well in elections, but now he runs the largest unity government ever in the history of Israel, giving him a support base not even Ben-Gurion could have dreamed of.  

 

Shaul Mofaz: Winner. Mofaz made a fool out of himself when he jumped ship to Kadima, but after sitting it out on the back benches behind Tzipi Livni on the back benched, he’s manages to come out on top and resuscitate the essentially dead Kadima party.

 

Kadima Party: Winner Until yesterday they were completely irrelevant and simply dead in the water; the largest individual party in the Knesset was forced to face the fact that they might as well not even have been voted into office. Now they have a seat at the table, and perhaps some influence too.

 

Tzipi Livni: Loser She could have been in the government 3 years ago, 2 years ago, and even 1 year ago. This could have been her and not Mofaz. At the end of the day, Kadima was kept in failure and disgrace because of her. Now it’s obvious to all.

 

Likud Party: Winner The Likud as a party is more powerful than ever.

 

Likud MKs: Losers For the most part, their individual influence and power has been diluted. Perhaps significantly.

 

Labor: Losers They were positioned to be the second largest party. Who knows what will be in a year and a half. They may be in for an even bigger shock in the opposition (see Ahmed Tibi below).  

 

Shelly Yachimovitch: Black eye Labor lost, but Shelly only got a black eye out of this. Perhaps she’ll lead the Tel Aviv summer block party, if it happens.  

 

Yisrael Beiteinu: Winner/Loser Yisrael Beiteinu didn’t really want elections, so this is good for them. The downside, their influence has been diluted, perhaps almost completely. One of the goals of this unity coalition is to implement a good replacement for the Tal law. It may happen. Yisrael Beiteinu may even get part of the credit for it, so they can at least bask in the reflected glory.  

 

Avigdor Lieberman: Loser Lieberman will keep his job, avoid elections, and get the opportunity to try to pass more laws he wants. But on the downside, the investigation(s) against him will now continue, and his influence has been severely diminished. We’ll see if he can make a comeback out of this.  

 

Ahmed Tibi: Winner What does Ahmed Tibi have to do with this? It’s simple math. Depending on a few factors, there will be only around 26 MKs in the opposition. The Arab have the largest number of opposition members compared to Labor, Meretz (and maybe Ichud Leumi). Ahmed Tibi is poised to be the new head of the opposition.  

 

Meretz: Losers Outside, irrelevant, no following, and not going to be opposition leader. Not even the Tel Aviv summer block party will be able to help them.  

 

Aryeh Deri: Loser No explanation needed.

 

Shas: Winners See Aryeh Deri above.  

 

Yair Lapid: Loser No explanation needed, but we’ll give one anyway. Sure he can go back to TV and perhaps try again next year, but he really lost his opportunity, even as his followers lost their enthusiasm for him the longer he stayed in the race.

 

President Obama: Loser Obama is a partisan president, while Bibi is the leader of the largest national unity coalition in the history of Israel. Netanyahu has the support of most of the country behind him for whatever he may need to do. Obama may have hoped he’d be facing a weaker Bibi after November, there’s no chance of that now.  

 

Dagan, Diskin, etc.: Losers Netanyahu and Barak are messianists, and irrational? Well, then add Mofaz too, and 80% of the Knesset. Now the former security chiefs sound like sore losers.  

 

Ehud Barak: Winner He still has a job.

 

Yuval Zellner: Winner Yuval Who? We asked the same thing. Zellner just replaced Livni in the Knesset. Until this morning, he was going to go down in history as one of the shortest serving MKs (who would never get a second chance at it either). Now he gets a chance to serve.  

Netanyahu Calls for New Election, Lieberman Wants Delay

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud Party convention called for a four-month election campaign.

Netanyahu said it was time for elections because the stability of the coalition had begun to erode.

“It is preferable to have a short election campaign of four months that will swiftly return stability to the political ranks,” he said in a speech Sunday to Likud members.

A vote on dissolving the current government is scheduled for Monday

The party convention comes ahead of party primaries scheduled for the second week in June.

Meanwhile, coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu called for a delay of the Knesset dissolution to allow the government to pass its bill ordering mandatory enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces for all Israeli citizens. The measure is an alternative to the Tal Law, which exempts full-time yeshiva students from mandatory army service.

The group “Yisrael Beytenu Anglos” sent out a call to all English-Speakers in Israel to support the proposed IDF, National, or Civilian Service Law, to “equalize the national burden.”

A press release sent to the Jewish Press by the group says the proposed law will “finally rid us of the unfair and unequal Tal Law. This should not be a partisan issue and Yisrael Beytenu stands ready to support any law, including those presented by other parties, that would implement national service, whether military, national or community, for all Israelis regardless of background.”

The group quotes JFK’s memorable inaugural address call on Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Party Chairman Avigdor Lieberman believes that 90 lawmakers would support the bill, and that it would be worthwhile to wait to dissolve the Knesset in order to pass it.

The opposition Kadima Party also called for a delay in dissolving the Knesset in order to vote on an alternative to the Tal Law.

Last week, the Knesset’s legal adviser said in a legal opinion that dissolving the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law. In February, Israel’s Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional; it is set to expire in August.

Dissolving the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law to at least three months into the new parliament.

A JTA report was used in this article.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-calls-for-new-election-lieberman-wants-delay/2012/05/07/

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