For months, Chareidi MKs maintained secrecy around the new draft law, in order to prevent unnecessary confrontations or incitement against the chareidim from public figures like Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Even when journalists obtained details of the draft bill, senior officials sought to prevent publication, for fear that it could harm the chareidi community.
Now, a draft of the law is being revealed. According to Yaki Adamaker’s report in Walla News, the basis of the law will be recognition of Torah study as a “basic value.” According to the draft law: “Torah study is a fundamental value in the heritage of the Jewish people. The State of Israel as a Jewish state is of the utmost importance in encouraging Torah study and learning Torah.”
The bill aims to compare one who studies Torah to someone who serves in the army, and thus will be exempted from enlistment. According to the bill, “those who have committed to devote themselves to Talmud Torah for a long period of time will be recognized as those who serve the Jewish people, and their right to defer other debts, including national security or security services, will be guaranteed.”
The explanatory note to the bill states that “beyond the fact that these values were worthy of anchoring in any case, this clarification was also meant to address the issue that the Supreme Court sought to regulate.” The Basic Law is also intended to clarify the Knesset’s position, which enshrines the policy of all and that in view of the centrality of the value of Torah study and its importance as a service to the Jewish people, those who wish to dedicate themselves to Torah study for a long period of time will receive an exemption from the duty of the security service.”
It is also written, “From the birthplace of the Jewish people, Torah study was the cornerstone of the nation’s existence, and even in times of crisis and destruction Torah study was a refuge and shelter for the nation.” The Basic Law proposes to properly anchor in the Basic Law the great importance and great value that the state sees in the study of Torah and its desire to encourage Torah study across sectors.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)