Photo: Gil Yohanan
PM Benjamin Netanyahu with MK Yaakov Litzman of United Torah Judaism. (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Gov't approves changes to burden equality law

One of the central issues from the previous government has finally concluded, with the Knesset approving on Monday night amendments to the burden equality law that effectively mean ultra-Orthodox youth will no longer be compelled to join to the IDF.

The Knesset on Tuesday passed the second and third readings of an amendment to the burden equality law – meant to draft ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students into the army – permitting a six-year delay in the law's implementation and essentially removing sanctions from draft-dodging ultra-Orthodox youth.



The amendment passed 49-36 and was the result of coalition agreements between Likud and ultra-Orthodox parties to support for Netanyahu in exchange for postponement of the law.


Ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students outside the Tel Hashomer recruitment base. (Photo: Yuval Chen) (Photo: Yuval Chen)
Ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students outside the Tel Hashomer recruitment base. (Photo: Yuval Chen)


Yesh Atid and the National Union of Israeli Students are both expected to submit a petition to the Supreme Court opposing postponement of the law's implementation.


Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party spearheaded the burden equality bill, said: "During a week full of security incidents, while there are funerals and people being evacuated to hospital, while security forces are stretched to their limit – this is when the Israeli Knesset will vote against IDF soldiers."


Tzachi Hanegbi, who chairs the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said the government was concerned that objections to the law would make it unenforceable.


"The government is afraid that the opposition within the ultra-Orthodox public will lead to them not meeting the recruitment targets," he said.


"I'm grateful," Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah said in a fiery speech. "I've learned my lesson. I need to love my children and no one else. There is no societal solidarity, no shared values, not even equality before the law."


Shelah had been one of the leading proponents of the amendments to the law during the previous term.


Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also attacked the changes to the law, saying that they showed that "the ultra-Orthodox public is above every law."


Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Lieberman, meanwhile, called the amendments divisive and unjust.


פרסום ראשון: 11.24.15, 13:09
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