The Israeli government decided today to create a ministerial committee to look into the controversial issue of mandatory national service for the chareidi-religious community and for Israeli Arabs.
The committee will be led by Minister of Science and Technology Yaakov Perry of the Yesh Atid faction. It will be called the Ministerial Committee for the matter of Equal Burden of Military and Civilian National Service and in the Workforce – or for short, the Perry Committee. Its task is to create an alternative to the Tal Law, which was declared unconstitutional in a Supreme Court ruling in 2012. The Tal Law allowed full-time Torah students to defer military service. The overwhelming majority of men in the chareidi community took advantage of the law to remain in yeshiva.
“The committee will bring a law before the Knesset that will be good news for all citizens of Israel – secular, chareidi and Arab,” Perry declared during the Cabinet meeting.
The new proposal will be presented in just under two months, he said. “Until then, we all must work hard,” he told his fellow ministers. “The short time available to us requires that all of us, committee members on one hand and the relevant government ministries on the other, engage fully in this task. The challenge before us is to create a reality where military service in defense of Israel, civilian national service, and the value of work are all important values that are balanced against Torah study to create real equality in ‘carrying the burden,'” he concluded.
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