Draft Law Findings to be Released Wednesday
MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) who heads the Keshev (acronym for Draft Law) Committee tasked with drafting a replacement for the Tal Law, declared discriminatory by the Supreme Court, said he would release his committee's findings on Wednesday.
Plesner's remarks came despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's declaration earlier on Monday that the committee had been disbanded.
"If we can't reach such a solution by August 1, the IDF will have to enlist according to its needs, while taking the various publics into considerations, in order to prevent a split in the country," Netanyahu told reporters.
Plesner reponded publicly, “We did a thorough job and I believe we have made history on the matter of equal service."
"Apparently some people would rather not hear these results," he said without pointing a finger directly at Netanyahu. "But we will not let anyone stop us from releasing them."
"I spoke with the committee's members and we intend, as was originally planned and as we said in a letter to the prime minister today, to present the panel's conclusions on Wednesday," Plesner said.
The Kadima MK said that the "report is written and so are the recommendations and the bill," adding: "It seems that there are those who are running away from the significance of this, or are afraid of it."
"But I think that the Israeli public is awaiting this message, and we're going to pass it on, and not let anyone who is afraid of publishing these recommendations block their publication," he added.
Plesner added that one of the implications of preventing the panel's work until now from coming to the attention of the public is that "60,000 Haredi students will be declared AWOL in exactly one month."
"We want to avoid this and advance the incorporation of the hareidi community, while adopting a rational solution," he added, saying that "ultimately, the public will see for itself on Wednesday, when the conclusions are published," he added.
Netanyahu's decision to pull the plug on Plesner's committee came after the body effectively collapsed amid political discord.
The lone hareidi representative on the Keshev Committee, attorney Yaakov Weinroth, quit the panel Sunday because of his opposition to the committee's plans to personally sanction hareidim that do not serve.
The right wing Zionist parties on the committee - Yisrael Beyteinu and Habayit Hayehudi - also quit the committee last week for its not obligating mandatory national service for Israeli Arabs.
Both hareidi parties – Shas and United Torah Judaism – refused to participate in the committee's deliberations from the outset. Plesner's comments made it seem as though he intended to present a confrontational solution to the issue, rather than a gradual change, and since it is known that there is no dire need for all the hareidi men eligible for the IDF to serve, he was much criticized in hareidi circles.
Netanyahu's decision to disband the committee prompted United Torah Judaism to declare its refusal to cooperate had been vindicated.
"United Torah Judaism says the committee's collapse is proof of the righteousness of our decision to participate in the committee's deliberations. Plesner's conclusions were known and written in advance, and only deepened the rift and divide between our the people," a statement from the faction said.
However, Kadima party chairman and Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz threatened on Monday to resign his post and pull his party out of the coalition if Netanyahu did not implement Plesner's recommendations.
"The committee was formed by all the parties together, and its unilateral dissolution by the prime minister does not obligate Kadima [to accept the decision]."
The Keshev Committee's recommendations are "the basis for any real attempt to fix the historic problem of the unequal burden," Mofaz added.
He then laid down an ultimatum, "If the prime minister chooses not to go in that direction, the national unity government will end."
Netanyahu established the Keshev Committee, chaired by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner, immediately after signing a surprise unity government agreement with Kadima, formerly the leading opposition party.
The committee was in response to a February ruling by the Supreme Court ruled that the Tal Law, which allowed hareidim to indefinitely postpone IDF, but also provided a way for them to serve and then gradually enter the job market, was unconstitutional and a replacement must be found for it by July 31.