Yesterday, Israel’s Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein sent a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon telling them that the law requires them to pass a new draft law immediately and does not allow them to postpone voting on that new bill until the Knesset’s fall session in October.
A-G Tells Netanyahu Haredi Draft Bill Must Be Brought To A Final Vote This Month, Despite Knesset Recess, Despite Netanyahu’s Foot-Dragging
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Yesterday, Israel’s Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein sent a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon telling them that the law requires them to pass a new draft law immediately and does not allow them to postpone voting on that new bill until the Knesset’s fall session in October, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Israel had a law that granted a near-blanket draft exemption to haredim as long as they were studying full time in yeshiva. That law, commonly known as the Tal Law, was widely abused by haredim and was ruled illegal by Israel’s High Court of Justice in February 2012.
But the High Court allowed the Tal Law to age out and expire at the end of July 2012 to give the government time to pass a replacement law.
But Netanyahu, Ya’alon and their Likud Party blocked every proposed new draft bill in an effort to appease their haredi Knesset allies.
When those haredi allies were pushed out of the ruling coalition after the national elections in spring 2013, a new haredi draft law was written over Netanyahu’s and Ya’alon’s objections.
It passed its first Knesset reading two weeks ago but Likud, which still controls the parliamentary procedure in the Knesset, decided that the bill could not be brought to the floor for its second and third (final) readings until the fall due the Knesset’s “crowded” schedule – an excuse that was widely ridiculed.
Weinstein gave Netanyahu and Ya'alon a deadline of August 20th to get the bill through its second and third readings.
Weinstein’s deadline was attacked by Likud’s Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein earlier today who said that it is not the attorney general’s job to set the Knesset’s schedule.
"Once the government submits a bill to the Knesset, it is not the Attorney General or even the prime minister or other ministers' job to set the legislative schedule. That is the job of the chairman of the relevant committee and the Knesset speaker, who sets the Knesset's agenda and decides when bills are brought to a vote.
"Discussing a bill in the Knesset committees and the plenum is not just a formal 'transit station' that it has to pass between government decisions and the Supreme Court. The job of the Knesset and its committees is to examine bills the government submits, hold a public discussion and listen to the people involved in the matter, including those the government did not hear, and use its judgment,” Edelstein wrote.
MK Ayelet Shaked of the Zionist Orthodox HaBayit HaYehudi Party heads the committee debating the proposed draft bill.
"We're working as hard as we can to finish preparing the bill for its second and third readings. At the same time, I won't give up on a serious legislative process with a deep discussion…such a serious matter deserves our full attention and a lot of time,” she said.
Edelstein also told Weinstein that he and Shaked are aware of the urgency of dealing with the haredi draft. That’s why, Edelstein said, Shaked’s committee is holding meetings during the Knesset's summer recess.