The High Court today, Tuesday, 28 Shevat 5772 ruled the Tal Law grant a draft deferment to chareidim will not be renewed when it expires in August. The court’s ruling was handed down in a 6-3 majority of the panel of nine justices. The justices in their ruling prohibited the Knesset from extending the law when it expires on August 1, 2012.
The decision will undoubtedly result in a flurry of legislative activity from chareidi MKs who will seek to pass a bill into law that will circumvent the latest High Court ruling. A law to undo the realities of Tuesday’s decision would compel a “Basic Law”, not just a regular bill, but one that is equivalent of a constitutional change.
In the event this is not accomplished, the veil of protection providing draft exemptions to avreichim would be lifted and they would be compelled to address draft notices.
The issue of chareidim serving in the IDF has been ongoing for decades and the issue resurfaces from time to time. This court’s decision on Tuesday is not unprecedented regarding the need for the Knesset to amend or circumvent a court decision in the name of protecting a Torah observant lifestyle.
One such example occurred about 18 years ago when the court passed a law permitting one to engage in whatever business one wished, the “Chofesh Ha’Isuk Law” that opened the door for importing treif, a landmark decision at the time. The Knesset amended the law to prohibit the importation of treif and a similar move can be expected in the coming months amid threats to topple the coalition by Shas and Yahadut HaTorah. It must be pointed out that the Tal Law was designed to be a temporary solution so one can expect significant resistance to attempts to circumvent the High Court’s decision.
MK (Yahadut HaTorah) Yisrael Eichler decried the court’s interference and its increasingly common practice of overriding the Knesset. He explained that since the nation does not have a constitution, the court cannot possible decide what is and is not illegal, calling its decision declaring the Tal Law “illegal” absurd.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)