Leaders of the Yahadut Hatorah factions; Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman and Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee Moshe Gafne on Wednesday, 2 Sivan, sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in which they request expediting the process to legislate a new draft law.
“First of all, we welcome you to continue your successful work as head of the State, both in the internal issues connected with the leadership of the State, and in all matters pertaining to the public living in Israel, among the nations of the world.”
“Despite your many concerns, we seek to draw your attention to the important and fundamental thing that is most precious to us. We are now completing three years from the time this government was established. The coalition negotiations between UTJ and the Likud were the main issue without which we were not part of this coalition, which is the regulation of the yeshiva students’ status vis-a-vis the enlistment authorities, and indeed the agreement was signed in the spirit of the statement that you wrote to us. In the state of the Jews they should not limit the quota for limud Torah. ”
“This demand in the coalition agreement came to erase the demand that was made in the amendment to the law, and indeed the coalition headed by you amended the law two years ago, and again left the authority of the defense minister to postpone military service for limud Torah.”
“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court rejected the amendment that the current coalition made two years ago, and canceled the arrangement known from the period of the first government headed by Ben-Gurion, through all the governments to this day, which enables those who study Torah to receive a delay from military service.”
“It is true that the High Court of Justice gave a one-year extension – which ends in September 2018 – and during the last winter session, the issue was discussed among the coalition components, and towards the end of the session passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset, which rearranges the arrangement of deferral of military service to lomdei Torah. At the end of the winter session, it was agreed that within thirty days of the beginning of the summer session, the legislative process would continue with the aim of bringing final and permanent legislation, including all the calls in the Knesset plenum confirming the above arrangement.
“As emissaries of the rabbonim, we were instructed by Gedolei Torah and Chassidus Shlita that legislation should be expedited immediately so that they will end by the completion of the Knesset summer session. Needless to say, as stated at the beginning, had it not been for the clause in a coalition agreement on the status of yeshiva students, we would not have been part of the coalition.
“We are hopeful that what was promised on this issue will be met, and we look forward to your response,” Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Chairman of the Finance Committee Moshe Gafni conclude their special letter.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)