Yeshiva Exemption Ruling Leaves Legal Vacuum

By Haaretz

Published February 22, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Politicians have been falling over themselves since the six-three High Court ruling that the “Tal Law” is unconstitutional and therefore cannot be extended by the Knesset, to laud the judges and bid farewell to the unpopular law. In a rare moment of consensus, opposition leader Tzipi Livni, MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak all said amen to this rare intrusion of the judiciary into the legislative process. The problem is that none of them have any alternatives to the Tal Law and the current system of military service exemptions for yeshiva students.

This isn’t the fault of the judges — their job is not to propose laws and political arrangements. It is the result of a continuous failure of all the other parties involved: the government, politicians, rabbis, senior Finance Ministry officials, Israel Defense Force generals and business leaders. None of them have really tried to work out a system that will not only find a way to allow the Haredi community to realize its ideal of Torah study while not creating an unjust and unequal situation, and at the same time integrate hundreds of thousands of young men and women into the workplace.

There was nothing new about today’s ruling; it simply echoed the original ruling from exactly ten years ago that said that the wholesale exemption of yeshiva students from military service, authorized by the defense minister, did not conform with basic constitutional standards of equality. That is what Supreme Court President Aharon Barak said then, that is what his successor, Supreme Court President (for another couple of weeks) Dorit Beinisch said today.

But all those politicians lining up to bask in the court’s glow, Barak and Mofaz, both defense ministers who have signed off on tens of thousands of exemptions, and Livni and Lieberman, who were members of successive governments that could not have existed without paying the price to the ultra-Orthodox parties, have not moved a finger to change this unconstitutional system and they have no other alternative in place.

No one remembers today that the greatest opposition to the Tal Law came originally from the ultra-Orthodox leadership who were worried that it would empty the yeshivas. If the law had been implemented by the government ministries, by the IDF, in partnership with businesses and the Haredi communities, it may have stood a chance at achieving a major change in Israeli society. But ultimately, the politicians and rabbis succeed in eroding the law’s original intentions and transforming it into a legislative cover for the old system, with minimal changes.

For more, go to haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.