Daily Israel Report

Elections Will Extend Tal Law into December

Early elections will mean the Tal Law will stand until 90 days into the next Knesset.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/2/2012, 9:10 PM

Hareidi Man Registers for Draft
Hareidi Man Registers for Draft
Reuters

Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon said Wednesday the dissolution of the Knesset will effectively extend the Tal Law into December.

Answering a query by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), Yinon explained that the Tal Law would automatically extend "three months into the next Knesset."

Should coalition chairman MK Zeev Elkin's bill to dissolve the Knesset be passed in the coming days - as is expected - Israel will hold national elections on September 4.

Once a new coalition is formed and the new Knesset is seated, the 90-day clock on the Tal Law would begin ticking. 

Yinon's opinion is based on Article 38 of Israel's Basic Law, which states, "Any enactment due to expire during the last two months of the term of office of the outgoing Knesset or within four months after the Knesset has decided to dissolve itself or during the first three months of the term of office of the incoming Knesset shall continue in force until the expiration of the said three months."

"Despite the problematic situation, in which a law ruled unconstitutional by the courts will remain in effect, the result from Article 38 is obvious," Yinon wrote to Gafni. "Any rational and objective judgment will take into account that the court did not intend to leave the issue of the recruitment of yeshiva students in a void without any legal regulation at all.

"Therefore, despite the law in its present form being unconstitutional, it will stand until a new Knesset is formed that can pass a new law that abides by the court's ruling.

"Simply, after the dissolution of the Knesset the legislative process stops making it impossible, as a practical matter, for the government to follow the court's directive and enact a new law that meets constitutional requirements.

"This is exactly the circumstance of Section 38 of the Basic Law: The Knesset was written to be an arbiter. Just as it applies to other laws set to expire during this period, so it should apply to the Tal Law."

Yinon added, that in light of the court's ruling the Tal Law is unconstitutional and the uniqueness of the circumstances, that he intends, should the Knesset be dissolved, to submit to the court and petitioners on the Tal Law notice of his opinion.

How and when to replace the Tal Law has been the ostensible fulcrum of tension in the Netanyahu government sparking the call for early elections.

The ruling Likud party has backed abolishing the Tal Law, but argues – like its coalition partner the Sephardic Hareidi Shas party – that a period of several months are needed to create the necessary framework and increase the budget for inducting large numbers of Hareidi men into the IDF.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) previously said there is “already a brigade” of Hareidi men ready to serve in the IDF.

The Independence party of Defense Minister Ehud Barak has taken a line similar to that of the Likud and Shas. Jewish Home has backed Netanyahu on the Tal Law, as well.

However, Foriegn Minister Avigdor Lieberman has advocated abolishing it immediately and was the most vocal proponent of going to early elections.

United Torah Judaism has vociferously opposed any changes to the Tal Law.

Analysts say that, by going to elections now, Netanyahu satisfies Lieberman's need to make a strong stand on the Tal Law for his constituents while gaining the months he says he needs to arrange the organizational and budgetary framework to begin inducting Hareidi men into the IDF.

Under such circumstances, Netanyahu – almost certain to form the next government – will likely form a government strikingly similar to his present one, though the inclusion of United Torah Judaism may be in question.