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FM will still push to address Tal Law next week (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 05/04/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=268565 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Thursday that he would continue to push forward Yisrael Beytenu´s alternative to the "Tal Law," even if the current Knesset session is curtailed.

The Tal Law, which allows haredim to indefinitely defer IDF service and was recently invalidated by the High Court, is set to become the central issue in the upcoming election. Yisrael Beytenu is recruiting MKs to support their replacement for the legislation, which would require all 18 year olds to enlist in the IDF or do civilian service.

Coalition chairman Ze´ev Elkin submitted a bill to dissolve the Knesset on Wednesday night, which will be passed next week. As a result of the dissolution, the Tal Law, which allows haredim to indefinitely defer IDF service, will be automatically extended for six to eight months.

Liberman´s party planned to bring its plan to a preliminary plenum vote on May 9 and threatened to bring down the coalition if it does not pass. Since May 9 is now expected to be the last day of the 18th Knesset, Yisrael Beytenu would have to pass the bill in its first reading on Monday and push it through an accelerated legislative process so it can become law by Wednesday.

The process cannot be sped up unless the bill is authorized by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, which is unlikely, as haredi parties and the Likud would have to approve it. Haredi parties oppose requiring their constituents to serve, while the Likud would lose points politically by allowing Yisrael Beytenu´s reform to pass.

Another possibility, the foreign minister explained in a Thursday press conference, is to get signatures from 61 MKs, which would require Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin to call a Knesset meeting despite its dissolution.

Liberman called a press conference in the Knesset with leaders of the "Camp Sucker" and "Common Denominator" protest movements, which advocate for universal service and support Yisrael Beytenu´s bill.

Boaz Nol and Idan Miller, leaders of the protest groups, called on MKs to pass the legislation before the Knesset is dissolved.

"The silent majority will not allow politicians to postpone this decision again," Nol and Miller said. "We will support any party´s proposal, as long as they keep the principle of equality in the burden."

Liberman told Nol and Miller that they can count on signatures from Yisrael Beytenu´s 15 MKs, but encouraged them to call members of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, as well as parliamentarians from parties who said they support the protest groups´ goals.

Yisrael Beytenu´s bill requires all 18 year olds to enlist in the IDF or do civilian service. The proposal allows for 1,000 yeshiva students and the same amount of athletes and artists receive an exemption from the IDF in order to encourage those with exceptional talents. Those who do not serve the state may not receive any grants or payments from the government.

Later Thursday, MK Einat Wilf (Independence) announced that she would bring her party´s proposed alternative to the Tal Law to a vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

Defense Minister and Independence party leader Ehud Barak submitted an identical ministerial bill, which does not require approval from the committee. Wilf´s move is meant to strengthen Barak´s bill.

The Independence bill calls for the IDF to decide which 18 year olds should serve in the military. Those who are not recruited by the IDF must perform civilian service for one year.

According to Wilf, Independence´s bill is the only one "that is based on the IDF´s understanding of security." (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/04/12)

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