Eli Yishai
Photo: Herzl Yosef
Shas to shun committee exploring Tal Law alternatives
Eli Yishai announces that party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, decreed that 'yeshiva students' basic right to study Torah is nonnegotiable'
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said Monday that his party will not send a delegate to the Coalition committee trying to devise an alternative to the Tal Law, which aims to regulate yeshiva students' IDF service.


According to a High Court ruling, Tal Law is set to expire on July 31.


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Yishai said that the party will formulate an independent alternative and present it to the government.


The interior minister added that he consulted on the matter with the party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who decreed that "The quotas are nonnegotiable and neither is the (students') basic right to study the Torah."


"The contribution of yeshiva students to the people of Israel and the Jewish people is well known to any observant Jew," Yishai said.


However, Ynet has reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to appoint Attorney Jacob Weinroth to represent the haredi factions during the deliberations. Shas and United Torah Judaism told Ynet that they have agreed to be represented by Weinroth.


The attorney, who was a member of the Tal Commission, said the appointment has yet to be finalized.


Netanyahu said Sunday that "By the end of July we will pass legislation that will distribute the burden equally, without pitting the various sectors of society against one another."


Shas sources slammed the prime minister for "trying to politicize the haredi sector."


The party rejected all of the current alternatives presented for Tal Law by the Defense Ministry, Yisrael Beiteinu and Kadima.


"We don't have an alternative yet, but we do have our red lines," a senior party official said. "This alternative has to be smart, no coerced," he added.



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