High Court rules against extending Tal Law
Panel votes 6:3 in favor of accepting petitions against Tal Law which exempts yeshiva students from army service; law scheduled to expire in August. Supreme Court President Beinisch: Law unconstitutional
Aviad Glickman • Ynet
The High Court of Justice on Tuesday accepted petitions against the Tal Law which exempts yeshiva students of military service, and will not be extended in August as a result.
Outgoing Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch was among those who supported the ruling while incoming president Asher Grunis was among those who opposed it.
Beinisch ruled that the law is unconstitutional and should therefore be rescinded. "The law does not meet the proportionality standard and is therefore unconstitutional," she wrote.
Among the backers of the majority opinion were justices Miriam Naor, Elyakim Rubinstein, Esther Hayut, Hanan Meltzer and Neal Hendel. The dissenters included Grunis, Eliezer Rivlin and Edna Arbel.
The panel concluded that the State failed to implement the law. This failure, Beinisch stated, was the result of legislated arrangements including the option to postpone military or national service until the stage where applicants are family men.
"The implementation of the law during the extended test period it was given indicates that the law has inherent impediments which greatly affect its implementation," Beinisch noted.
"Can one say that with the passage of nine years the enlistment of 898 haredim and the joining of another 1,122 for a short, undefined national service out of a group of 61,877 constitute fulfillment of the law's goals?"
"The enlistment of only 530 haredim to designated courses, nine years after the law's legislation indicates an implementation failure," she said. "The fact that there is a rise in the number of recruits is indeed positive but is not enough. Nine years after legislation one would have expected a more substantial number of recruits. The low rate of enlistees coupled with the relative ease with which enlistment procedures are changed illustrate a fundamental difficulty in the law itself."
As a member of the dissenting group Grunis expressed concern that another petition will be filed. "The court's constant dealing with haredi enlistment without any real progress being achieved through judicial involvement does not contribute to the court's status. It would be an illusion to expect that judicial rulings bring about the enlistment of haredim to the IDF and their joining the work force."
Addressing the rescission, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a new bill aiming to bring about better "sharing of the burden by all segments of Israeli society" will be drafted in the coming months.
The petitions were filed by the members of the Movement for Quality Government and the Meretz party.
The Tal Law passed a Knesset vote in July 2002 and cemented the army service exemption for yeshiva students.
According to the law, a yeshiva student can decide at the age of 22 whether to continue to study or enlist in the IDF for a reduced service. It was extended five years later by another five years. Five motions against it were filed with the High Court of Justice claiming it violates the principle of equality.