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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Tal Law’

Likud Moves to Dissolve Knesset, Eyes Sept. 4 Election

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Likud Party, which leads the ruling coalition, has submitted a bill to dissolve the current Knesset and is pushing for new elections on Sept. 4.

The bill joins motions by the opposition Meretz and Labor parties. Kadima said in a statement that it will support any bill to move up the elections. The bills reportedly will be put to a vote on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Knesset’s legal adviser said Wednesday in a legal opinion that the expected dissolution of the Knesset next week would automatically extend the Tal Law, which exempts full-time yeshiva students from mandatory army service. In February, Israel’s Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional. It is set to expire in August.

The Knesset’s dissolution would automatically extend the Tal Law to at least three months into the new Knesset.

Netanyahu to Initiate End-of-Summer Elections

Monday, April 30th, 2012

According to Ma’ariv‘s Mazal Mu’alem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose father passed away this morning, will nevertheless start talks this week with the leaders of his coalition partners to reach an agreement on a date for a “lightening speed” election. Netanyahu is interested in setting the earliest possible date, which would be August 14, or, at the latest, September 4.

The pretext for going to the President to request a general election before this government’s term ends will likely be the controversy surrounding legislating an alternative to the Tal Law, which was struck down by Israel’s Supreme Court largely because it had failed to improve in a timely fashion the state of Haredi enlistment to the military.

But sources in the Likud suggest that the decision to seek an early election began to take shape with in November of last year, when Netanyahu was beginning to climb in the polls, following the Shalit deal.

Netanyahu must be perceiving that his popularity is peaking right about now, and that the time to capitalize on it is now, before his two main oponents, Shaul Mofaz of Kadima and the Independent Yair Lapid had the time to organize and deny the Likud a 30+ seat count.

100 Ultra-Orthodox Would-Be Soldiers Not Drafted in 2011

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The human resources division of the IDF reported last week that they were forced not to draft 100 ultra-orthodox men that would have enlisted due to cutbacks in per-soldier finances from the treasury.

An officer in the IDF close to the issue told the Jewish Press: “In the beginning of the year we were given goals of recruiting 700  ultra-Orthodox [Haredi] soldiers, then the army told us to lower to 500 due to financial constraints. However, 100 soldiers were already in the drafting process so we were able to take them in. It is not that we turned away 100 soldiers – had they come to us we would have taken them anyway. But we did stop our outreach efforts to the Haredi community which would have netted more recruits.”

Asked why the Treasury cut down on the financing, the officer said: “The cost of a haredi soldier is very high, we have to pay him for family costs, special training (without women), special food, Torah lessons – all these things cost money. We get 5400NIS  per month per soldier from the treasury, and they needed to cut down to make the budget for 2011.”

The Israeli military drafted 1,288 ultra-orthodox soldiers in 2011 to its four ultra-orthodox programs, including 242 who agreed to serve in non-orthodox units with women. The financial constrains of the army led to the Knesset’s approval in February of the transfer of 1,850 mandatory draftees to the police and 1,300 to the prison service.

With Israel’s military unable to enlist all of its mandatory draftees and its ultra-orthodox volunteers it remains to be seen what will happen if the Knesset does not pass a new version of the Tal Law, set to expire on August 1, due to Supreme Court interference.

The Tal Law exempts ultra-orthodox Jews from the mandatory draft and allows them to maintain their status of learning in their yeshivot, a status they have enjoyed since the creation of the state. Before the Tal Law was passed ten years ago, there were no ultra-orthodox Jewish army units, and the youth in their community could receive automatic army exemptions from the age of 16.

Jewish Press’ source in the IDF added: “In regard to 2012 the discussions are still open. But the Tal Law is the big story though. If a new law does not pass, there will no longer be a legal framework for Haredim to push off army service, and we will therefore be in a position to draft 60,000 soldiers in August.”

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Yishai Fleisher contributed to this story.

 

Jewish Press Radio: Snow! Vandalism on Mt. of Olives and Ultra-Orthodox IDF Soldiers

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The Yishai Fleisher Show is Israel’s only English-language FM talk show and it is brought to you in partnership with JewishPress.com

Click the links below to listen or download this week’s show:

The Good Season Segment #1 

Forecasters are predicting that Israel could receive record amounts of snow and Yishai and Malkah begin this week’s show by showing excitement for snow in Jeruslaem. Yishai talks about his recent experience accompanying a special tour group, which included American legislators, on the Mount of Olives that was attacked by rock-throwing Arabs. Lastly, a recently planted palm with an iconic lineage, tracing back to Masada, is visited in the Negev.

Knesset Jeremy on the Tal Law Segment #2 

An early agreement between David Ben-Gurion and leaders of Israel’s ultra-orthodox community have allowed young Jewish men studying in Yeshiva to be exempt from military service. This exception has been a hot-button issue in the State of Israel for many years and legislation was put into place to slowly integrate young ultra-orthodox men into service in the Israel Defense Forces. Yishai and Jeremy Saltan discuss pros and cons of the Tal Law, the law that was enacted in order to put ultra-orthodox men into service. This law will be expiring soon and potential solutions are discussed. At the end of the segment, Yishai also talks about attending a memorial service for former Prime Minister Menachem Begin on the Mount of Olives and how his son, Benny Begin, is responding to the situation in Migron.

Tu B’Shevat in Satmar Williamsburg Segments #3   Segment#4

Tu B’Shevat, which is the new year of the trees, is a minor holiday that is traditionally not celebrated among many Jewish groups in the United States. During his recent tour of North America, Yishai led a Tu B’Shevat Seder for Satmar Chassidim in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Satmar Chassidim are generally not among the most Zionist Jewish groups but Yishai finds himself pleasantly surprised to see a group who love their land and the state that exists within it.

High Court President Dorit Beinisch Retires

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Israeli Supreme Court president Dorit Beinisch has retired after 17 years on the Supreme court bench.

Beinisch, who on September 14, 2006 was appointed as the first female president of the Supreme Court, ended an extensive career in public service that began in 1967. Starting as Assistant in the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office, she quickly rose through the professional ranks: serving as Deputy State Attorney from 1982 through 1988, the State Attorney of Israel from 1989 to 1995, and elected to the Supreme Court in 1995.

The 9th president of the Supreme Court of Israel, Beinisch presided over an active term, in which she wrote landmark decisions like the 2005 ruling against the IDF’s use of “human shields”, the 2007 ruling that Israel’s separation fence route must be modified, and the 2009 ruling declaring private prisons unconstitutional. But the most memorable and controversial ruling of her legacy may have been her penultimate one – the High Court’s revocation of the Tal Law.

As former Israeli Supreme Court president Aharon Barak’s protege and hand-picked successor, Beinish shared his activist approach, and tended to emphasize human rights and encourage scrutiny of IDF, police, and Shin Bet activities. Picking up where he left off, she expanded on the constitutional scope of the right to ‘dignity’ as enshrined in the Israeli Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. She was a staunch proponent of the concept of ‘judicial review’, whereby the judiciary extends its oversight to the activities of the executive branch. This view on the judiciary’s primacy led to clashes with the Knesset and the overturning of legislative enactments (ie. The Tal Law). During her tenure at the State attorney’s office she also led the push to outlaw Meir Kahane’s Kach party from the Knesset.

Comments by politicians across the political spectrum seem to support the notion that she represented a more secular and progressive voice on the Supreme Court.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni lauded Beinisch for being the first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court, and praised her for leading the “struggle over what sort of country we will leave to our children. The Supreme Court represents our country’s constitutional values against a group that desires to impose Halacha on society, as a source of authority.”

Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich also commended Beinisch, saying that her work was composed of “a rare combination of statism and protecting individual rights.”

Comments by nationalist politicians on the right were less flattering of Beinisch and her body of work. Jewish Press’ Knesset Insider Jeremy Saltan described the general mood in the nationalist camp as one of cynical gratitude. “They really liked Beinish as Supreme Court president because as much as they didn’t agree with her, she had far less influence than her predecessor. She was often in the minority and unable to impose her rule on the court like Barak had, thwarting her activist intentions.”

National Union MK Yaakov Katz blasted Beinisch for her “radical left ideology,” while Eretz Israel Shelanu head Baruch Marzel joked that he was “arriving with a bottle of wine in his hand to toast Beinisch’s retirement from her throne of judgment.”

Justice Asher Grunis, who wrote the majority opinion for the recent decision rejecting petitions against the ‘Citizenship Law’, will replace Beinisch as Supreme Court president.

In a swearing-in ceremony for Grunis, both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres praised Beinisch for her service to the State of Israel.

Livni Stakes Political Future on Yeshiva Students’ IDF Service

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Ma’ariv reported that Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni is expected to submit a bill today regulating the compulsory military and national service of every Israeli citizen who reaches the age of 18, following the Supreme Court’s decision to kill the Tal Law – which had attempted to bring Haredim into the IDF fold. The proposal applies to Jews and Arabs, and evaders will be subjected to two to five years in prison. Only a small group of students, athletes, and outstanding religious scholars will receive exemptions from service.

It appears that Livni, who in March will be facing a primary fight to the death over her continued leadership of the largest party in the Knesset—which is nevertheless in the opposition—will be staking her political future on the conscription of yeshiva students.

“Contrary to the Prime Minister, who intends to establish a committee to bury the issue, I undertake to do everything to promote the bill in the current Knesset or right after the elections,” Livni said last night. “This proposal will be our election banner.”

Livni’s move is smart and could prove useful in helping to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led coalition government, in which two key partners, Yisrael Beitenu and Shas, hold diametrically opposed views on Haredi military service.

According to blogger Jeremy Saltan, of Jeremy’s Knesset Insider, quoting a Panels Polling Company’s internet-based poll which was broadcast on the Knesset Channel 99 (Israel’s C-SPAN) on February 22, Netanyahu’s Likud will remain at the top with 30 seats, but the nationalist block drops to 64 seats. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu comes in with 14 seats. Shas drops to six seats, UTJ drops to five. The National Union will get six seats.

Kadima is only expected to score 13 seats, giving up more than half its current parliamentary holdings to a recovered Labor Party.

In Livni’s new bill, those who did not complete their full military service will be called to do national service, performing civic chores, and will be entitled after their stint to all the benefits awarded to regular enlisted soldiers.

“I’m sick and tired of hearing that it’s impossible to implement the law, because the Haredim or the Arabs don’t want to join,” said Livni. “Israel is a state of laws and raises its hands in surrender. Except until now the Orthodox have refused to serve, because they had  political power to impose  their wishes.”

An interview the Jewish Press published with Haredi journalist Israel Gelis revealed that thousands of Haredim have enlisted in the IDF since the enactment of the now defunct Tal Law.

Knesset Debates Haredi Service After Tal Law Annulled

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

In the wake of yesterday’s landmark decision by Israel’s High Court of Justice to declare the Tal Law unconstitutional, the Knesset was left to deal with the fallout – and proceeded to reject two Kadima-sponsored bills that sought to legislate mandatory military or national service for all Israeli citizens.

The Tal Law, enacted in 2002, was intended to promote enlistment of Haredi men in the IDF by exempting draft-age yeshiva students from military service for a prescribed period of time. In a 6-3 ruling, the High Court determined that the law is unconstitutional and cannot be extended by the Knesset in its present form when it expires on August 1. The Tal law is a temporary law that must be renewed every five years.

And so the Knesset convened Wednesday to deliberate on one of the most controversial and polarizing issues in Israel today. Kadima was the first party to offer its vision for an alternative to the Tal Law, saying that it proposed both bills “to promote equality between all sectors in shouldering the national effort.” The National Service bill, which was proposed by MK Yoel Hasson and would have required ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs to perform national or military service, was rejected by a vote of 55 – 27. MK Nachman Shai proposed the other bill – the Defense Service bill, which was rejected by a vote of 40 – 23.

Kadima has increasingly cast itself as the leader in the crusade to end what it describes as preferential treatment for the Haredi demographic. Chairwoman Tzipi Livni continued to bemoan the status quo in the aftermath of the High Court decision: “This injustice has been perpetuated for far too long. No one has a monopoly on prayer.”

“It’s time we stopped lying to ourselves,” she lamented, “the IDF is no longer the ‘people’s army’ and we didn’t need the High Court of Justice to tell us that the burden isn’t distributed equally.

“For years we have been trying to reach an agreement and for years, Haredi politicians have been abusing the weaknesses shown by the other politicians here,” she continued. “It is time to say – enough is enough. It is time we changed the rules of the game once and for all.”

Livni, seeking to head off charges that she is promoting divisiveness and an anti-religious platform, insisted that the bills were proposed “for the unity of Israel. We don’t want an internal strife but we won’t relent – we will meet you with love but we will also meet you with draft orders, either for the IDF or for civic and national service. There is no choice. You must serve beside us…You will still pray – in the IDF, in the police, in the Fire Department and in hospitals…This miscarriage of justice – draft dodging – has been going on for too long.”

The decision to revoke the Tal law has been widely and predictably denounced by religious parties, while Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement Tuesday, saying: “As I stated even before the High Court of Justice decision, the Tal Law in its current format will not be continued, and in the coming months we will formulate a new law that will lead to a more just change in the burden of all sectors of Israeli society.”

Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beteinu head Avigdor Lieberman pledged that his party will also propose an alternative to the Tal Law whereby “everyone will serve the state.”

“I have no expectation of seeing masses of Haredim and minorities suddenly flooding the air force cadets’ course or being placed in the elite units, but they can certainly join the national effort. I see no reason why a Haredi man can’t sit in front of a computer in the army and make his contribution or be part of the national service.”

In a possible veiled threat to the Prime Minister, Lieberman said that the High Court decision “helps the coalition understand it finally has to take decisions rather than waffle.”

Analysts and politicians alike have speculated that the matter of Haredi deferment and exemption from military/national service is the one issue that could cause Netanyahu’s heretofore stable coalition to fall apart. Shas, the largest ultra-Orthodox party in the coalition, appeared to be seeking to allay such concerns. When asked if the coalition will be threatened by the ruling, Shas Party spokesman Yakov Betzalel responded: “No, no, no. I don’t see it in the offing.” Still, the coalition seems headed for difficult days ahead, as Betzalel expressed confidence that Haredi males would be able to continue their Yeshiva study, and predicted that a new law would be passed that would reflect “minor changes” to the current law. “From my experience, the ultra-Orthodox community will not accept even short-term enlistment…but let’s see what will happen.”

See also: Journalist: Secular Fear of Haredim Drove Court’s Rule on Service Deferments

Journalist: Secular Fear of Haredim Drove Court’s Rule on Service Deferments

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Israel’s Supreme Court voted six to three Tuesday to abolish the Tal Law, which had been the Knesset’s adaptation of Justice Tal’s recommendations to regulate the system by which Yeshiva students are absolved from military service. The court ordered that the law be nullified as of August, 2012.

Outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, for whom this was her last ruling, pointed out that the High Court had held back from taking drastic steps, such as the wholesale cancellation of legal deferments to Yeshiva students. However, “the growing number of deferments calls into question just how we got to this point. The doctrine of ‘His Torah is his vocation,’ which recognized the special value of Yeshiva students, not only affected the number of service deferments, but also fed an internal processes within Haredi society. Presented with a ban on seeking work—lest they be conscripted into the Army—most Haredi men do not work for a living and poverty spreads in society. Reliance on state benefits has grown substantially. In the absence of any restriction on the number of outsiders, the number of non-serving Haredim grew rapidly.”

For the Haredi view, I called up Rabbi Israel Gelis, a Jerusalem institution, an old-time Haredi reporter, a story teller, a host of several shows on Moreshet Network and Radio Kol Hai, and a regular on Israel’s popular Reshet Bet Saturday night show Melaveh Malka.

He was all too happy to share his opinion with the Jewish Press readership.

“Many don’t really understand the meaning of the Tal Law and fail to appreciate the enormous changes it has affected,” Rabbi Gelis began. “If anyone actually expected all the Haredim to one day just storm the gates to become IDF recruits – they were, obviously, wrong. It’s a slow process.

“But since the enactment of the Tal Law, in 2002, thousands of Haredim have enlisted into the Army, be it Nahal Haredi (infantry), or Shahar Kahol (air force). My son serves in Shahar Kahol, and two sons-in-laws  in Communications and in Military Intelligence. If not for the Tal Law, I doubt this would have been possible.

“It’s very clear that the Army does not want Haredi recruits. And they keep coming up with machinations to get rid of them. It costs them too much money, they’re not prepared to make the necessary adjustments, they plain don’t want more Haredim in the Army.

“The fact is there are more than 2000 Haredi soldiers in the Nahal Division (which historically ‘belonged’ to the Zionist youth movements, with a service structure that combined military service with living on agricultural settlements in crucial, border spots.) who want to do Miluim (reserve duty) – and they aren’t called up.”

Israel TV Channel 2 ran a story last week on efforts by the Golani infantry brigade commander, Colonel Ofek Buchris, to encourage kibbutznik enlistment to his ranks, so that his unit would cease to be dominated by religious soldiers. This IDF commander actually told Channel 2 that he wants his unit “to become once again the people’s division,” but, alas, there are too many knitted kippot there to fit that bill.

Gelis continued: “Today there are religious servicemen of all stripes in high command centers, including Haredim. But if once there used to be resentment toward Haredim, now there’s fear of them.

“In the Civil Service today there are more than 25,000 Haredim. I had the heads of the Civil service on my radio show, and they provided the details of just how vast Haredi influence is becoming, from the Prime Minister’s Office down. Likewise in academia: there are more than 20 thousand Haredi students in various universities. The Open University has 600 Haredi students, 100 of them from (anti-Zionist, Ultra-Haredi) Toldos Aharon.

“You walk into any hospital, you see a ton of kippa-wearing doctors. You see attorneys with kippot. You see bus drivers with huge beards not only in Jerusalem and Bnei B’rak, but in Tel-Aviv, too.

“The secular elite is becoming afraid of this ‘infestation’ and they’re looking for ways to curb it, if not reverse it altogether. They never dreamed it would be such a massive wave. So they’ll try to mess with the Tal Law, too.

“I heard someone say yesterday that (departing Chief Justice) Beinisch did a hit-and-run with this last decision of hers. That was her last mission – kill Tal and flee the scene. Now the rest of you go knock each other in the head to come up with something better…”

And to set the record straight, Gelis quotes the late Rav Shach, who said that any yeshiva student who cheats the authorities and uses the exemption from service for anything other than real engagement in Torah study is a “rodef,” meaning someone who threatens the lives of others.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/secular-fear-of-haredim-drove-courts-rule-on-service-deferments/2012/02/22/

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