Yishai. 'Pines causing damage'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Pines. 'Law failed'
Photo: Niv Calderon
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided Monday not to support a bill submitted by Knesset Member Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) for the annulment of the Tal Law, allows yeshiva students to postpone their military service and which was referred to by Pines as "the draft-dodging law."
Labor Party MKs attempted to postpone the discussion on the bill, but Shas chairman, Minister Eli Yishai, insisted that the discussion be held as planned.
Pines explained his bill by saying that "the implementation of the law is a complete failure. Only a tiny minority of yeshiva students have chosen to serve in the security forces, and their ability to contribute through national service hardly exists in practice.
"Instead of dealing with the draft dodging problem, the law has drastically worsened it," he added.
Yishai said after the discussion that "Pines' bill contradicts the coalition agreements."
A senior Shas official added, "It is unfortunate that the Labor Party, which is looking for an agenda, is attempting time and again to damage the status quo. There are apparently those in the Labor Party who have forgotten that an outlook is not a press release or a move doomed to fail, but rather consistent agenda."
'Pines attempting to make headlines'Another official added that "Pines served as a member of the government with which his party signed the basic principles, and the law he himself proposed contradicts these principles. Pines has only caused damage to his friends in a bid to make headlines."
At the beginning of the month, Defense Minister Ehud Barak refused to approve the request of 1,000 yeshiva students to be exempted from military service as part of the "torato omanuto" (Torah is his profession) arrangement which exempts men from army service as long as they study Torah on a full-time basis.
The move sparked a row in the political arena, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised Minister Yishai that there would be no change in the current situation.
Last summer, the Knesset voted in favor of extending the Tal Law, which allows yeshiva students to postpone their military service until the age of 22.
The Tal Law was approved by the Knesset about five years ago. According to the law, 18-year-old yeshiva students will be allowed to postpone their military service every year until the age of 22, when they will be allowed to work or study for a year outside the yeshiva without joining the army.