The Knesset told Israel’s High Court of Justice today that it won’t be able to pass the new haredi draft bill during the summer session which ends August 5, claiming that it does not have enough time to properly debate the bill on its crowded schedule.
Knesset Delays Haredi Draft Bill Vote Until Fall Session
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Knesset told Israel’s High Court of Justice today that it won’t be able to pass the new haredi draft bill during the summer session which ends August 5, Ynet reported, claiming that it does not have enough time to properly debate the bill on its crowded schedule.
However, last week the government said it would get the bill passed this summer, despite that schedule.
"The State intends to do the best it can to complete the legislative process before the Knesset breaks for summer recess in August 5,” it reportedly said in a statement last week.
The bill will be brought to a vote in the fall – if Prime Minister Netanyahu hasn’t found a way to scuttle it before then.
Any draft of haredi yeshiva students is strongly opposed by haredi leaders, and Netanyahu needs the haredi political parties as allies if the current government coalition – largely made up of his Knesset opponents – falls.
Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon – a senior member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party and a possible candidate for prime minister – said several weeks ago that if the Knesset does not pass the law this summer, he would consider canceling the draft orders of haredi yeshiva students who have already received orders to report for service next month. Ya’alon in essence made the claim that since haredim were on the orders of their rabbis refusing to be drafted, “radically” changing the legal status of these August draftees would be “incongruent” with the bill’s intent because it would criminalize their actions and cause even more opposition to the draft on the haredi street.
Ya’alon’s statement was widely pilloried across the political spectrum in Israel with the exception of haredim, Likud and hard-right Zionist Orthodox rabbis, some of whom oppose the haredi draft on theological grounds.
The High Court of Justice ruled 17 months ago that blanket draft exemptions for all haredi yeshiva students are illegal.
Netanyhu – who has a long history of skirting rulings of Israel’s judiciary, especially those of the High Court of Justice – successfully scuttled all attempts to draft a new law that would draft haredim.
But the January elections did not bring him and his allies a sweeping victory. Instead, it gave a shocking number of Knesset seats to Yair Lapid’s pro-haredi draft Yesh Atid Party and a lesser number to the right wing Zionist Orthodox HaBayit HaYehudi Party, which is also pro-haredi-draft. Another bloc of seats went to the moribund Labor Party, which came back from near death to lead the opposition.
Netanyahu was unable to form a government with Labor, forcing him to either withdraw and allow Yair Lapid to try to form a government or form one with Lapid’s Party, thereby retaining the premiership.
Netanyahu chose the latter option, which pushed his haredi allies into the opposition and stunted Netanyahu’s ability to scuttle proposed haredi draft bills, which before this had never come close to coming to a vote.