As reported here on Matzav.com yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Vice Prime Minister and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz have agreed to establish a team to hash out the new law for equality of the national burden, the replacement to the Tal Law, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said Sunday.
The law, which will seek to include the ultra-Orthodox and Arab-Israeli sectors into military and national service, will be drafted this week and brought to the next cabinet meeting next Sunday. “The timeline for implementing the law is going to be a challenge, as the army and other institutions are going to need to prepare for the influx of new recruits,” Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar told Israel Radio on Sunday.
Coalition members expressed hope that a replacement for the Tal Law acceptable to all coalition parties, apart from the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism which is refusing all compromise on the issue, will be formulated by this Wednesday. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the proposed law would provide a basis for a “just sharing of the security burden among all sectors of Israeli society.”
“I will submit a proposal for a historical law that will change the reality of the past 64 years. The law will bring about the sharing of the burden equally by all Israeli citizens. I intend to act responsibly to prevent this historical move from tearing society apart. Our national strength is based on our unity and we must ensure that it is not breached,” Netanyahu said.
At the start of the weekly cabinet session Sunday, Netanyahu told the ministers about his plans to legislate an alternative to the controversial Tal Law that governs the military draft. “Several months ago I decided to introduce a new bill that would stipulate an equal sharing of the burden. I said that what has been can no longer continue; we cannot perpetuate the current situation. The army, society and the economy – they cannot continue moving along this path. I fully relate to the demands put forth by those who serve and their family members, and the vast majority of the public has come to the realization that we must effect change.”
The prime minister also said that his new legislation would usher-in a new era. “Now that 64 years have elapsed we are on the cusp of a move that would cause a dramatic increase in the rate of integration.”
Speaking after the Likud faction meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said the new law would hinge on positive incentives for those who do serve, and negative incentives for those who do not, so that “those who do not serve do not get the same as those who do serve.”
“We want to bring a dramatic increase in the number of charedim who serve,” Netanyahu said Sunday.
A statement by the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday said Netanyahu and Mofaz appointed a joint team including Vice Prime Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon and MK Yohanan Plesner to draft a new law to replace the Tal Law, which expires August 1. According to the statement, professional participants in discussions by the team will include officials of the defense, finance and justice ministries, as well as representatives of national service programs.
The statement closes a turbulent chapter between Netanyahu and Mofaz, who sparred all last week after Netanyahu dissolved the Plesner Committee for Equalizing the National Burden. Mofaz had threatened to bolt the coalition by Wednesday – a move that would have brought about early elections – if Netanyahu did not adopt Plesner’s recommendations.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who was an architect of the rapprochement between Netanyahu and Mofaz, said Sunday after an Independence party meeting “I view the new law of burden-sharing as a historic opportunity that will advance the principle of unity among Israelis and ensure a just sharing of the burden. This is a time for decisions and we must all join the campaign to implement the law. The new law must be based on the Plesner Committee’s principles, while taking into account Israel Defense Forces requirements and other considerations.”
Netanyahu adopted all of the major recommendations of the Plesner committee, except for the one regarding Arab Israelis. Netanyahu wants to include the Arab sector into national service, a major condition for keeping Yisrael Beytenu in the coalition.
A Likud spokesman said on Sunday that the Likud had unanimously approved the Plesner committee’s main principles, which include the following:
- Implementation of the “service for all” principle for all Israelis, including the Arab sector.
- Personal responsibility for service.
- Additional benefits for those who serve, including less time serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
- The establishment of an efficient and deterring enforcement mechanism for any infraction of the law, including draft dodging or falsifying personal details in relation to the draft.
- Concerning ultra-Orthodox men who are eligible for the draft, principles of the committee will be implemented immediately.
- The Israeli Arab population will also be bound by the principle of “service for all” and the Likud believes there is no reason to postpone implementation of this principle for Israeli Arabs after the matter is significantly elaborated.
The statement said “The Likud accords great importance to gender equality in the IDF and emphasizes that any agreement concerning the sharing of the burden must not infringe upon this important principle. The Likud has appointed Minister Moshe Ya’alon to work with Kadima and other Coalition parties on the wording of the law in accordance with these principles. The final version will be presented to the Likud plenum upon its completion.”
Read more at: ISRAEL HAYOM