UTJ and Shas in Joint Statement: Only Gedolei Yisrael Will Decide on Draft Law

The Knesset building in Yerushalayim. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A few hours after Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman presented to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the recommendations of the committee he established in the Defense Ministry regarding the Draft Law, United Torah Judaism and Shas in a joint announcement Sunday evening said that the decision on this issue lies only in the hands of the Moetzes Gedolei and Chachmei HaTorah.

Earlier Sunday, Liberman released recommendations and a bill that he would like to pass in the Knesset, with slight changes still to be made by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

“At the meeting of the heads of the coalition parties, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu informed us that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is supposed to bring the memorandum of the draft law as soon as possible to the attorney general for approval and to distribute it later.”

The parties stressed and added that “upon receiving the memorandum, the representatives of the chareidi parties will bring the text of law to the table of Gedolei Yisrael, who alone will decide on the matter and rule the way we will go about the new law.”

The chareidi parties have said numerous times that the Draft Law needs to pass its three readings by the end of the summer session in the Knesset, otherwise they will leave the government, unequivocally.

The ultimatum and the rush comes ahead of a September deadline set by the High Court for the Knesset to re-legislate a previous exemption that the court disqualified last year.

In September 2017 the High Court of Justice struck down a law deferring yeshivah students from military service, saying it undermined the principle of equality. However, the court suspended its decision for a year to allow for a new arrangement to be put in place, giving the government the option to pass a new law.

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